Matrosskaya Tishina racketeers to be convicted

Matrosskaya Tishina racketeers to be convicted
Mikhail Zakharov, former head of operations section of Matrosskaya Tishina prison

Detention center staff put a local criminal boss into the cells of rich prisoners to extort money from them.

The Moscow prosecutor's office has approved the indictment in the criminal case against the prison employees and their accomplice, according to the official website of the Russian Prosecutor General's Office.

Depending on the degree of involvement, they were charged under eight articles of the criminal code: extortion, complicity in extortion, abuse of office, bribery, mediation in bribery, swindling through official position, and illegal acquisition of special technical equipment designed to secretly obtain information. A total of 8 people are involved in the crime.

As established by the investigation, in 2014, the head of the Moscow operations section of the detention center took advantage of having a well-off businessman in one of the cells. He decided to take Eldar Vekua, a prisoner who is a status leader among the arrested and convicted, as his accomplice.

The detention center staff was ordered to hold meetings between the imprisoned businessman and the criminal leader. The latter was demanding money and threatening the businessman with violence in case he refused. The prison employees were keeping an eye on the businessman’s text messages to keep the story inside the prison walls.

They got 1 million rubles ($17.000) from Dmitry Komissarov, the general director of Spetsstroymontazh, a large construction organization, in 2015. But this was not enough, so they demanded another 10 million rubles, threatening to harm the businessman and his family.

Earlier, the mafia boss had found out that there was a person in the detention center who had an apartment worth 5 million rubles. He arranged the sale of the apartment to get the money through accomplices.

Besides, the investigators found that two prison officers had taken bribes for handing over a mobile phone to an inmate. Also, one of the officers persuaded the families of some prisoners that if they paid him, their family member would not be moved far away, and will be kept in a jail somewhere near the Moscow region.

All of the accused are being held in custody now, and the Preobrazhensky District Court of Moscow will be hearing their case.


Eldar Vekua is a member of the Mengrel mafia clan with ties to a number of Abkhazian thieves in law. Eldar, his brother Teimuraz and a number of their accomplices were engaged in bag-stealing from cars. Vekua has been in Matrosskaya Tishina a few times and established a rapport both with the thieves in law and the jail staff. Last time Eldar Vekua got arrested was in 2013, for robbery. He had not been sentenced until January 2015, but he is yet to be sent to the colony.



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