Which thieves in law are sitting pretty in European prisons?
Dozens of thieves in law are serving their sentence in correctional systems of foreign countries. However, the ‘figures of authority’ are still able to run their criminal business, as well as to influence the alignment of forces in Europe while behind bars.
A few years ago, large-scale round-ups of thieves in law and the crime communities under their control were conducted in many European countries. This applies particularly to the Georgian thieves in law, who have expanded their criminal business in a number of foreign countries. These ‘sweeps’ resulted in multi-volume criminal case files and judicial sentences counted in dozens of years.
For example, in August 2015, 35 members of a Georgian OCG and its head, Kutaisi crime lord Zviyad Darsadze nicknamed Zviyad, were detained during a special operation of law enforcers in Spain. The thief in law’s gang specialized in burglaries. It is known that Zviyad Darsadze's crime groups acted not only in Spain, but in Germany and France. He is currently serving his sentence in prison. Another thief in law, Dato Cherepakha (Kharebava), is also in prison.
However, as the Spanish law enforcers noted, even the detention of Zviyad Darsadze did not result in a decrease in the activity of Georgian criminals in the country. Rumor has it, another crime lord Spartak Dzhaparidze (Spartak), who is at large for now, is his proxy.
Spartak Dzhaparidze (left)
In May 2016, the infamous head of the Georgian-Russian mafia, thief in law Kakhaber Shushanashvili nicknamed Kakha Rustavsky was sentenced to 20 years and 11 months in a Spanish prison. Another 12 members of the OCG he created received sentences from 1.5 to 7 years of imprisonment. They were charged with laundering of ill-gotten gains. In addition, Kakha Rustavsky was found guilty of a conspiracy to commit murder of another thief in law Vladimir Dzhanashiya, also known as Lado, in Marseille in 2010. There is also extortion, drug trafficking, swindling, use of fake credit cards, and theft in Shushanashvili’s service record. Kakha Rustavsky’s gang also operated in several other European countries.
In December 2015, ‘cleansings’ were conducted in Greece, as a result of which about seven thieves in law ended up behind bars. The law enforcers arrested David Sebiskveradze (known as Dato Kutaissky or Varlamych), confined to a wheelchair.
His OCG comprising of 25 Georgian thieves in law was suspected of involvement in 142 robberies, damage from which amounted to about 10 million euros. Apart from Dato Kutaissky, two of his godsons, namely 30-year-old Lasha Ugrelidze, also known as Stalin, and 29-year-old Shota Asatiani, nicknamed Shotiko Bolnissky, were also brought to justice. Another person caught during the ‘roundup’ was Mikhail Khutsishvili, who also called himself a thief in law. The following crime lords are also in the hands of the Greek penal system: Dato Mazanashvili, Keme Kaldani. It should be noted that Sebiskveradze’s term of arrest ends in June; since the thief in law has serious health problems, it is possible that the court will decide on his release.
In July 2013, Merab Dzhangveladze aka Merab Sukhumsky was arrested in Italy. The thief in law and 18 of his accomplices ended up in the dock for the organization of burglaries, extortion, money laundering, and falsification of documents. Although, the prison terms, for which criminals were convicted, turned out to be rather short. For example, Dzhangveladze himself and his henchmen, Besik Kuprashvili aka Beso, Temur Nemsitsveridze aka Tsripa, and Guram Odishariya (Buya) were only sentenced to 4 years and 8 months of imprisonment. The thieves in law are soon to be released.
In addition, Georgian crime lord Avtandil Tugushi (Avto Samtredsky) is in custody in Italy.
A representative of the Megrel clan from Aslan Usoyan's group Georgy Elerdzhiya (Giya Galsky), Zaza Elikashvili (Karaleyka), and Kakha Alshibaya (Kakha Zugdidsky) are all in French prisons. It is known that the third of them was convicted for 10 years in 2015.