MOSCOW, September 11 (RAPSI) – The Ecuadoran authorities are searching for a Russian who is suspected of being a masterminding behind $1 billion fraud scheme that was going on for the past 10 years, RIA Novosti reported on Friday, citing Deputy Interior Minister Diego Fuentes.

The Ecuadoran police have uncovered a criminal group that laundered money and embezzled funds from Russian banks. The group was led by a certain Dmitry M., a Russian national, the Los Andes agency has reported.

The police arrested five people and confiscated their property, but the Russian leader remained at large and is wanted by Interpol.

“Since 2005, the group has carried out criminal operations that have grossed over $1 billion,” Diego Fuentes said.

The Russian suspect was an official representative of a money-laundering company, which was also involved in drug trafficking, according to the police. The investigators have found that this company owned the consignment of bananas in which nearly a ton of cocaine was hidden. A sniffer dog detected the drugs, hidden in 1,080 containers prepared for shipping to Kuwait via Spain.

Another company with which the Russian suspect is associated is being investigated in Russia for alleged involvement in a $159 million fraud scheme, the Ecuadoran Interior Ministry said.