US court suspends ‘thief in law’ Razhden Pitersky’s sentence

US court suspends ‘thief in law’ Razhden Pitersky’s sentence
Razhden Shulaya

New judge will have to get familiar with his gang’s wide case.

Sentence of a ‘thief in law’ Razhden Shulaya (aka Razhden Pitersky) has been suspended for an indefinite period again.

Earlier, the court hearing in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York was scheduled for November 26, and before that - for September 21, however the verdict was not delivered on any of these dates, due to the fact that a judge was replaced.

Judge Catharine Forrest stood down on personal grounds; Loretta Presko who adopted his case, according to MK, suspended it to get familiar with this wide case.

Earlier, ‘thief in law’ Razhden Shulaya and his assistant and award-winning professional boxer Avtandil Khurtsidze were found guilty by the jury of criminal conspiracy, extortion, theft, handling stolen goods, and swindling. As a result of multiple charges, they are to face from 20 to 65 years in jail.

On September 7, 2018, the interim WBO middleweight champion and IBO 2011 world’s champion Avtandil Khurtsidze was sentenced to 10 years behind bars by the United States District Court, Manhattan.

Joint effort by the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), police departments of New York and other cities for eliminating a sizeable organized crime group of citizens of countries of the former USSR was carried out in the US in June, 2017. As a result of the operation, according to the United States Department of Justice, 33 representatives of ‘Russian mafia’ with its leader Razhden Shulaya were exposed in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Nevada. Most of the organized crime group’s members were detained; 5 were put on the wanted list. According to the US Attorney’s Office, Razhden Pitersky’s gang was involved in a whole range of crimes: from smuggling of cigarettes, skimming, theft of supplies to racketeering, drug traffic, arms trading, and conspiracy to commit a contract murder. The media’s interest was gained when 4.5 tons of chocolate and pastry items were stolen. There was also a series of robbing involving women of pleasure who sent to sleep their victims with Clophelin, rekeyboarding of amusement machines in a Philadelphia-based casino, and an attempt to launch a nigh club with a purpose of drugs sale.

Soon after, many of the arrested made a plea deal with the investigation. Shulaya’s right-hand man Zurab Janashvili was among them; his testimonies were added to the criminal indictment against the ‘thief’.

Despite the fact that there had been reports stating that the court did not unconditionally believe the testimonies born by the FBI informers and tried to speed up the process, Manhatten attorney Jeffrey Berman sent his Sentencing Submission to the new judge Loretta Presko and described Shulaya as a dangerous leader of a criminal group who deserves 25 years behind bars. In particular, he describes the notion of a ‘thief in law’ to her; as it was known from the wiretapping, Shulaya calls himself the ‘thief in law’. This Russian phrase, in Berman’s words, means ‘a brotherly order of elite criminals dating from Tsarist-era” that can be compared with a ‘godfather’ of Italian mafia.

Moreover, Shulaya was called a ‘thief’ during the meeting with secret informers and eyewitnesses who were summoned to court.

Besides that, Berman believes Shulaya’s high profile is confirmed by the fact that he was the only and the most high-ranking member of the organized crime group. Secondly, Shulaya is an extremely cruel criminal who over the last 4 years, had taken part in abductions, extortion, manhandling - including 2 instances of manhandling of an elderly artist in Georgia who had insulted him in the restaurant. Finally, Shulaya used his status and skills at violence to create a criminal group that committed various crimes. The attorneys concluded that the thief in law’s assertiveness and criminal activities outperform those by any of the bosses of a criminal group in New York.

Before he moved to the US, Shulaya lived in St.Petersburg’s Admiralteysky district and was a son of an entrepreneur who died in 2008. In 2013, he was ‘crowned’ at the ‘convention’ in Cyprus. State Duma member and former professional boxer Nikolay Valuev was mentioned among Shulaya’s friends. According to MK, they had common business interests.

In February, 2013, Shulaya was sentenced for the first time. Moscow’s Presnensky district court found him guilty of illegal possession of narcotic substances on an especially large scale without intention to sell and sentenced him to 3 years in the colony with a general regime. Nevertheless, Shulaya turned out to be in Cyprus in 3 months; after that, he left his motherland for good.

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