Eleven persons were arrested in Italy and Germany on 24 November 1996 on suspicion of brokering radioactive material, including uranium, from Russia's nuclear arsenal to the Italian Mafia. The operation, codenamed 'Tabula Rasa,' involved the Italian Carabinieri and the German police. Sources inside the Italian law enforcement community report that mafiosi established contact with a Russian criminal gang and conducted talks with a former KGB officer known as 'The Major' to conclude the deal. The Italian Mafia was planning to forward the radioactive substances to several North African countries.
Abstract Number: 19962120
Headline: Plot to Smuggle Uranium from Russia Foiled
Date: 25 November 1996
Author: Dmitriy Polunin
Orig. Src.: Itar-Tass, 25 November 1996