Did Denis Nikandrov previously cover Shakro Molodoy in case of OCG creation?

Did Denis Nikandrov previously cover Shakro Molodoy in case of OCG creation?
Denis Nikandrov Photo: Artem Korotaev/TASS

Back in 2015, investigators tried to prosecute the thief in law Zakhar Kalashov under Art. 210 of the Russian Criminal Code as part of the Golden Palace casino takeover. It is likely that Denis Nikandrov’s patronage prevented this from happening.

It may be not only the release of Andrey Kochuykov (Italian) from pretrial detention center that connects the first Deputy Head of the ICR Main Investigative Administration for Moscow Denis Nikandrov and Zakhar Kalashov. According to Rosbalt’s source, the thief in law Shakro Molodoy had already sought Nikandrov’s auspice.

According to the source, one of the investigators of ICR General Investigative Administration for Moscow severed the case materials of Kristall and Golden Palace casinos takeover, in which Zakhar Kalashov was the prime suspect. Proceedings under Art. 210 of the Russian Criminal Code (Organization of a Criminal Community) were supposed to be instituted against him, but Nikandrov ordered not to do so. We are talking about the events that took place in the early 2000s. It was a real war on casinos in Moscow.

In 1999, the gambling houses Kristall and Golden Palace were owned by Optikal company. Among its shareholders were Alexey Kran (US citizen - 70%), Karlen Azizbekyan (the former Lieutenant Colonel of the Ministry of Defence - 10%), Zurab Tsereteli (sculptor - 9.5%), Musaelyan (9.5%) and Vladimir Dukhno (Tsereteli’s lawyer - 1%).

At this point, Alexey Kran’s assistant, known as Leon Lann (Leonid Kaplan) began to act in the interests of Shakro Molodoy; he demanded 70% share in the Optikal company. In January 2000, Dukhno disappeared along with the original share certificates belonging to Kran, Tsereteli, and Musaelyan. Lawyer’s body was found, but the law enforcement agencies had no doubts about his murder. An investigation for abduction and killing was opened.

In June 2000, when Kalashov invited Kran to Tbilisi for a conversation, the American businessman was kidnapped; kidnappers demanded 1.2 million dollars for his release. When the ransom was paid, Kran was killed. Part of the money was transferred to the accounts associated with Shakro Molodoy.

Some of the law enforcement officers who arranged raids on casinos in the thief in law’s interests were also killed or escaped. Cases under Art. 222 of the Russian Criminal Code (Illegal Possession of Weapons) and Art. 159 of the Russian Criminal Code (Swindling) were initiated in respect of Azizbekyan. He had to flee. It was only in 2013 that the Head of ICR General Investigative Administration for Moscow Vadim Yakovenko and investigator Evgeniy Evmenov closed the case by proving it was a frame-up involving some corrupt law enforcers.

Leon Lann later became the accountant of Shakro Molodoy and was convicted for money laundering in Spain, same as Kalashov. In Georgia, Zakhar Kalashov was sentenced in absentia to 18 years of imprisonment for the murder of Crane.

The Golden Palace hotel complex is currently controlled by Kalashov’s colleague Konstantin Manukyan; after the return to Russia from the Spanish prison, Shakro Molodoy used the hotel as his office.

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