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Russia: Organized Crime Danger Real, Says FBI Head

Washington, 2 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - A senior U.S. law enforcement official says the danger posed to the U.S. by Russian organized crime is real and growing.

Louis Freeh, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said yesterday that a number of what he called powerful Russian criminal groups are establishing themselves in big American cities.

At a hearing on global organized crime called by the U.S. House of Representatives International Relations Committee, Freeh also said there are strong indications that Russian criminals are employing the expertise of former Soviet KGB agents. He says that gives the gangs an added level of sophistication.

Earlier this week, a private U.S. public policy research organization published a report which warned that Russia is in danger of becoming a state ruled by an alliance of gangsters, corrupt bureaucrats and crooked businessmen, unless the government takes measures now to control organized crime.