MOSCOW, November 25 (RIA Novosti) – Russian police said Monday they have detained six members of an ethnic minority criminal group engaged in illegal banking, that they believed was financing an international Islamist terrorist organization.

“As part of a large-scale operation, six leaders of the network have been held and items of evidence confirming their illegal activity in the credit and financial sphere have been found,” the police said in a statement, without saying when the operation took place.

The group, with a turnover of 1.5 billion rubles ($46 million) per month, conducted unspecified illegal financial activities involving major markets across Russia, including in Moscow and the Perm Region.

Police claim to have found evidence proving that the group financed the Hizb ut-Tahrir (Islamic Liberation Party) international political organization that was officially banned in Russia in February 2003.

The suspects laundered funds through financial channels “in the interests of natives of Central Asia illegally based in Russia,” police said.

It was not possible to independently verify the police claims about the alleged group’s activities.

The Russian authorities have in recent months been conducting large-scale checks on migrant workers at markets across the country, particularly in Moscow, in response to alleged criminal activity.