Case against thief in law Shakro Molodoy stalls 

Case against thief in law Shakro Molodoy stalls
Shakro Molodoy

No one wants to investigate the seizure of Moscow-based casinos Crystal and Golden Palace.

The Main Investigations Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia in Moscow is not going to reopen an investigation into swindling on an especially large scale and illegal seizure of casinos Crystal and Golden Palace by a ‘thief in law’ Zakhary Kalashev (aka Shakro Molodoy) and “unidentified employees of law enforcement.” The Committee believes the period of limitation for these crimes has expired long ago, reports Rosbalt with reference to its sources.

The investigators had earlier just lost these files, however after the ‘thief’ was arrested, Moscow’s Tagansky district court ordered the Main Investigations Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia in Moscow to restore all 14 volumes that had disappeared.

In 2015, an investigator of the Main Investigations Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia in Moscow Evgeny Evmenov was going to open a criminal case under article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Theft on an especially large scale) and 210 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Creation of a criminal community). Its defendants were Zakhary Kalashev, ‘authoritative’ businessmen Leon Lann, Konstantin Manukyan, as well as “unidentified employees of law enforcement.” However Denis Nikandrov - who was a deputy head of the Main Investigations Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia in Moscow then - requested the files. After that, he decided to transfer the files to the office of criminal investigations of the Central Administrative District of the Investigative Committee of Russia headed by Aleksey Kramarenko then. The documents have not been heard of ever since - until Nikandrov and Kramarenko were arrested on charges of taking a bribe from Kalashev for release of an ‘authority’ Andrey Kochuykov (aka Italianets).

Никандров коммерсантъ.jpg

Denis Nikandrov

Source of Rosbalt familiar with the situation believes that the Main Investigations Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia in Moscow decided not to restore the disappeared files until the court ordered them to launch a new investigation. In late 2018, Moscow’s Tagansky court partially upheld the complaint of a lawyer Karen Nersisyan who represented interests of a co-owner of Crystal and Golden Palace by Karlen Azizbekyan.

The story into seizure of the Moscow-based casinos Crystal and Golden Palace that had once been popular started in 1999 when their owners did not manage to settle their issues in a peaceful way. Both casinos were then owned by a company Optical Basics, Inc. co-owned by an American Alex Crane (Aleksander Arutyunov), Karlen Azizbekyan (an ex-officer of the Ministry of Defence and an ex-head of a private security firm Magma-V that secured the casinos), a sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, his lawyer Vladimir Dukhnov and their mutual acquaintance Musaelyan.

Leonid Kaplan (Leon Lann) - while working for Crane’s company - got close to Shakro Molodoy and after that announced his claim that he wanted to own 70 per cent of Optical Basics, Inc. In early 2000, Tsereteli’s lawyer Vladimir Dukhnov went to a business meeting. He was carrying originals of Crane and Tsereteli’s shares. He went missing. Operatives are convinced that he was killed, but the body was not found.

In a month after the lawyer disappeared, a group of employees of the Regional Department for Organized Crime Control broke into the building of Crystal. They were accompanied by Lann who was put on a wanted list by the FBI and Interpol in a case into swindling.

During the searches, a gun owned by Azizbekyan (who was responsible for the security of Crystal) was found. After that, he was taken for interrogation. During the interrogation, he was offered to refuse from the casino on his own will. 

Леон Ланн

Leon Lann

His private security firm was displaced by competitors. With that, the controlling stake of Optical Basics was still Crane’s and Azizbekyan’s who continued the fight for the assets.

Crane was abducted and killed, despite the fact that a large amount of money had been paid to the abductors. Later, Shakro Molodoy was sentenced to 18 years behind bars in this case. But as Russia did not extradite him to Georgia, he remained unpunished.

On the day when Crane was abducted, the Prosecutor-General's Office summoned Azizbekyan to accuse him in a case initiated by Moscow police upon a report by Viktoria Crane. She stated the rest of the shareholders removed her from office with the help of false documents and seized her property worth of $4.5 million. But Azizbekyan learnt about Crane’s abduction and left the country. He was convicted in absentia under 5 articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Meanwhile, the Prosecutor-General's Office took the papers of the case related to the abduction and murder of Dukhnov and closed it, as there was no information about the circumstances of these crimes.

In 2012, a group of ex-employees of the Regional Department for Organized Crime Control who had taken part in the seizure of the casino was interrogated in a case against Azizbekyan. They pointed out that there was no motive for the searches of Crystal and the gun was planted at the order of the senior executives. In 2013, the cases against the former head of the security service of Crystal and Golden Palace Azizbekyan were closed on the grounds of rehabilitation.


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