The Belgian Federal Police confirmed to the Russian BBC service that batches of cocaine were discovered in packages bearing the logo of the United Russia party.
Two tons of cocaine, split into 1,900 packages, were hidden in the cargo of a ship which docked in the Belgian port of Ghent from Brazil. The trade value of the drugs is estimated to be in excess of € 100 million.
Evegeny Revenko, deputy secretary of the United Russia general council, gave RIA Novosti a humorous explanation for how the party logo ended up on the cocaine packages.
“Now there’s fame! Now even Latin American drug lords have learned of the existence of the United Russia party, and even decided to use part of our logo to disguise another batch of cocaine, this time from Brazil to Belgium. It could also be that they just liked the tricolor with our bear. In any case, it’s been a good day, there was something to laugh about,” he said.
As the Dutch and Belgian media reported on August 23, citing the East Flanders police, the seized batch was the largest in Ghent’s history.
“This is the largest drug seizure at the Port of Ghent. It was an amusing and fun catch for our staff. The smuggler perpetrators also lost millions in profit,” a representative of the East Flanders federal judicial police told reporters.
In a video taken by journalists from VRT, a Belgian news outlet, the United Russia logo of a bear and Russian flag is clearly discernible on each of the briquettes in at least one container.
In February this year, Argentine authorities reported that 12 suitcases containing nearly 400 kilograms of cocaine had been found in a school at the Russian embassy to Argentina. The suitcases were registered as diplomatic baggage. In order to identify the drug traffickers, the cocaine was replaced with flour and sent to Moscow. Six people have been arrested in connection with the so-called “cocaine case” - three of the smugglers’ presumed accomplices in Russia, as well as Ivan Bliznyuk and Alexander Chikalo, heads of “Russian Orthodox Philanthropists in Latin America’ in Argentina. The suspected organizer of the cocaine shipments, Andrey Kovalchuk, was arrested in Germany and extradited to Russia at the end of July. On August 22, the Argentine authorities burned the confiscated cocaine.