YNOT EUROPE – Valencian porn star Nacho Vidal was among 80 people arrested Tuesday during raids on alleged Chinese mobsters and their accomplices in Madrid and Barcelona. The crackdown resulted from a two-year Spanish high-court investigation that encompassed money laundering, prostitution, extortion, bribery, forgery, tax evasion and distribution of contraband goods, authorities said.
Dubbed Operation Emperor, the effort involved 300 police officers, who continue to seek 28 people for whom they have outstanding warrants. On Tuesday, participating agencies searched hundreds of properties, froze the bank accounts of 120 people, and confiscated 202 vehicles and six million euros (about U.S. $7.8 million) in cash, according to Junior Security Minister Ignacio Ulloa.
Anti-corruption prosecutor Antonio Salinas told the AFP international news agency that the network, which allegedly included primarily Chinese citizens living in Spain, operated prostitution and extortion rackets that channeled profits to tax havens with the assistance of Spaniards and Israeli intermediaries. Another 200,000 to 300,000 euros a year were laundered through Spanish businesses including karaoke bars and restaurants, then smuggled into China as cash by train and automobile.
Vidal, one of only a handful of Spaniards arrested, allegedly operates a company that laundered some of the money. Also among the Spaniards arrested were Vidal’s sister, Maria José Jordá, and the Councillor for Public Safety in Fuenlabrada, Jose Borras. Fuenlabrada is a Madrid suburb known as a major European hub for Chinese-owned import-export businesses.
Vidal is not the first Spanish adult entertainment professional to be held on criminal charges this year. Last December, Hungarian police jailed porn producer-director and Barcelona native Pablo Lapiedra, a Spanish citizen who was the subject of an Interpol manhunt stemming from charges of child prostitution and sexual abuse in Colombia. Earlier this month, a Hungarian court set Lapiedra free after declining to extradite. Lapiedra and his estranged wife, Colombian native Zuleidy Piedrahita — better known as porn star Lupe Fuentes — remain at large and subject to Interpol warrants for their arrest.