GTA gang – questions only multiply 

GTA gang – questions only multiply

One must either be too stupid or too self-confident to decide to escape from the courthouse. However, it is not like all the other horrible crimes of the defendants can be justified by logic and reason.

On Tuesday, in the building of the Moscow regional court, there was a shootout, as a result of which three defendants in the case of the so-called "GTA gang" were killed immediately, two more were wounded, one of whom subsequently died. The fifth is under protection in a medical institution. Two guards, as well as a soldier of Rosgvardia, were taken to the hospital with injuries. 

Five men in an elevator (except for the police escort) 

On the day of the hearing, around 13.50, Abdumukim Mamadchonov, Mirzomavlon Mirzosharipov, Kholik Subkhanov, Fazlitdin Khasanov and Zafardzhon Guliamov attacked their convoy guards – Mikhail Fartushnyaka and Elizaveta Lukyanova – in the elevator, in which they were going down from the fourth floor. It is known that the criminals were able to stop the elevator cab by swinging it and then began to strangle and beat the guards, after which they managed to take possession of their service weapons. The fight in the elevator hovering between the floors continued, according to various data, from 10 to 30 minutes until maintenance staff sent the elevator to the third floor.

Meanwhile, the squad of the Sergiev Posad riot police (OMON), who provided heavy support for the delivery of another defendant to Moscow Regional Court, received a signal about the incident and began preparing to block the criminals who escaped. The main group of 4 people took control of the second floor, as the most likely for the criminals to show up. Two Rosgvardia soldiers (which includes the mentioned OMON) took a position on the third floor of the building, where they were attacked by two criminals armed with Makarov pistols. Shooting began, during which one of the OMON officers was shot in the shoulder. However, as a result of the counter fire, several criminals were injured. Escaping, they apparently rushed into one of the court rooms, where policemen who heard the sounds of the shootout were already waiting for them. Here, just another hearing on the case of former head of the Miass City Hall (Chelyabinsk Region) Victor Ardabievsky accused of banditry and murders just ended. In the court room, there were the accused himself, two employees of the convoy unit of the Moscow Region MIA - warrant officer Nikolay Makarenko and senior sergeant Denis Koropchan, as well as two participants of the hearing (presumably, a court reporter and a lawyer). 

Realizing that the criminals are running towards them, the police were able to quickly coordinate, spread as far as possible in the small enough room and take up positions. Therefore, when the first criminal ran there holding a pistol on his outstretched arms and looking for a target, he was immediately shot. After him, the other criminals tried to run in, but they also received their portion of lead.

From behind, they were chased by the Rosgvardia officers, so there was practically no chance of getting out of the trap – they were clamped from two sides in a small space. This is what actually explains the "cincentration" of the dead bodies and those wounded. Subsequently, the names of the three killed criminal were announced: Abdumukim Mamadchonov, Mirzomavlon Mirzosharipov, Kholik Subkhanov.

This incident, to put it mildly, became resonant: escapes from escort guards, of course, happened earlier, but a one with shooting has not happened for a long time. Moreover, it happened not in some district center in the middle of nowehere, but in a huge and well-protected building of the Moscow Regional Court. 

Sometimes very contradictory messages that transpired after the incident, only blurred the picture of what happened, which eventually gave rise to many versions about what it was all about and why it all happened, including conspiracy ones. For example, an unnamed source in the special services told the Moskovsky Komsomolets that members of the GTA gang had been specifically provoked to escape and so that they can be killed. The same suggestion was made by lawyer Igor Trunov. According to him, the shooting at the Moscow Regional Court could be a false flag operation.

However, there is a widely known technically more simple practice, when convicts in Russian prisons "who know too much" die from acute heart failure. As it happened, for example, with leader of the Kushchevskaya gang Sergey Tsapok, lawyer Sergey Magnitsky, former deputy minister of housing and communal services of the Moscow Region Vladimir Gusev and many others. The same reason was originally named as the result of the death of Vladimir Yevdokimov, the top manager of Roskosmos, whose body was found in the cell with knife injuries of the chest and neck.

And yet, from the very beginning, one can trace a lot of oddities in the "GTA gang" case. The media receives very little information and many important questions are not answered. Even when in the summer of 2014 it became clear that the murders committed on Moscow suburban routes became regular, there were no official comments from the authorities on this. As a result, among the inhabitants of Moscow and the region, there were rumors that a group of former commandos were operating in the region, which explains the fact that they could not be caught. At that, the reasons for which they needed to kill random drivers remained unknown. According to other assumptions, this could be done by international Islamist terrorists. At the same time, the information that appeared in the media that the gang uses thorns in the form of crosses to stop cars, gave rise to the hypothesis that this was the work of some Satanists. Some politicians also poured oil on flames by stating that this is nothing more than an incursion of the Security Service of Ukraine. Then, we recall, the conflict in the East of Ukraine was in the most acute phase. According to the same rumors, the number of victims was estimated at several dozen people. And since the authorities are "inactive", detachments of volunteers began to be formed to catch the criminals.

"Hardly a convoy"

So, according to the instructions, depending on the number of escorted, the degree of their danger and other relevant data, the convoy police can be ordinary or reinforced. In the first case, five guards would have to escort five persons of interest. With the reinforced convoy, the "GTA gang" must have been escorted by eight escort guards. Instead, five defendants accused of grave crimes were followed by only two guards, including a woman.

Задержание подозреваемого в ходе рейда добровольцев

Detention (Photo: Ramil Sirdikov / MIA Rissiya Segodnya)

According to the source of RIA Novosti in law enforcement agencies, the attackers should not have been taken in an elevator. Another source admitted this, but explained that they were required to be transported in pairs.

It is also interesting how miraculously the convoy evaded death, because the criminals had fully loaded pistols. Probably, they were not killed only because the criminals expected to use them as "human shields", but even when a shooting started, they managed to avoid gunshot wounds. At the same time, if the wounded Rosgvardia officer in the Main Military Hospital of suburban Balashikha was visited by head of this power department Viktor Zolotov, as stated on the official website of the service, we do not know anything about the injured escort guards - neither about their injuries, nor about their present state of health.

According to Alexey Filatov, the Vice-President of the International Association of Veterans of the Alfa Division, the members of the gang could agree with the law enforcers on their escape. "This is the lack of professionalism of a senior officer, who decided that the convoy will only consist of two guards. Or there is a second option, which is also possible: collusion. One of the guards received an injury of a moderate severity, and the second one testifies now. It could be a corrupt conspiracy, and the opportunity was given to these criminals to flee," he said.

General Zolotov also called the actions of the convoy a violation of "all possible instructions from A to Z".

Another interesting fact is that earlier all the gang members were kept in different detention centers (Medved, Vodnik, Matroska) and to each court session they were taken from different parts of Moscow. However, recently they were all put in the detention center No. 12. Apparently, for the convenience of transportation. Despite the fact that they were in different cells, this did not prevent them from communicating with each other. And, as investigators believe, it could be that the staff of the detention center assisted them in that. 

However, according to the lawyer of one of the members of the "GTA gang" Abubakor Manaev, there was never a reinforced convoy, only two or three people. "Not a convoy, just the name, they can fall asleep in court, or something else can happen," said the lawyer.

Like in a game

Court hearings on the case of "gang GTA" lasted for a year – from 28 June, 2016. A preliminary hearing was held behind closed doors, on the follow-up hearings, at the request of the defendants, photo and video recording was banned. The free public defenders provided for the accused in accordance with Article 51 of the Criminal Code (all but Khasanov had them, the latter hired a lawyer) do not share any information with the media. 

Один из членов банды

The gang member

However, meanwhile it transpired that the members of the "GTA gang " are accused of committing crimes under articles 209 (banditry), 105 (murder), 162 (robbery), 222 (weapons trafficking), 223 (illegal manufacture of weapons) and 325 (stealing documents) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. 

On the dock, until recently, there were nine natives of the Central Asian countries: Khazratkhon Dodokhonov, Kholik Subkhanov, Anvar Ulugmuradov, Fazlitdin Khasanov, Sherozdzhon Kodirov, Mirzomavlon Mirzosharipov, Abdumukim Mamadchonov, Umar Khasanov and Zafardzhon Guliamov.

Some media reported on the existence of four more gang members, two of whom were detained and imprisoned in Tajikistan.

In the case submitted to court, there are 15 episodes of crimes. In all of them, 17 people died at the hands of the criminals.

All the accused refused the jury trial, so the case is considered by federal judge Natalia Valikova.

The first victims of criminals were foreign taxi drivers, who were killed in 2012 in order to take possession of their cars. One of them was strangled and beaten with a metal bar, the second one was shot. The bodies were hidden in a private house, where some members of the gang lived. 

In mid-2013, they shot a couple in a car, parked in wood line. As a result, the man who was in the car died, the woman was seriously injured, but survived.

Two months later, at the 92nd kilometer of the Novorizhskoye Highway, the driver of a jeep parked on the side of the road was shot

In November 2013, near the village of Luzhki in the Istra District, a driver who replaced the wheel of his vehicle was also killed with the use of firearms.

In the same month, the same gang attacked three young residents of Ryazan, who were traveling from Moscow to their homes. They stopped on the sidelines, of which the criminals took advantage. From the received gunshot wounds, two of them died on the spot, the third one managed to survive.

In December of the same year, the gang members attacked the warehouse of RK-Sever LLC on the Olkhovskaya Lane in the center of Moscow. According to their information, the money intended for payment of wages should have been there. In the warehouse, they killed three people, but found no money.

In February 2014, they killed the chairman of the Supervisory Board of the bank Flora-Moskva, Vladimir Kirilluk, who was riding a bike in the evening near the village in the Moscow Region. First, several times he was fired a pistol, and then the criminals finished him with a knife.

In early May, on the highway M4 Don, they were able to stop the car of elderly spouses with the help of spikes scattered on the road and killed them with headshots.

Первый фоторобот одного из предполагаемых преступников, распространяемый СМИ

Сomposite sketch

The gang members used the same tactics in June on the same highway: one motorist was shot.

They also killed two others in August on the Moscow’s big ring road and on the Domostroitelnaya Street, which runs parallel to the Moscow Ring Road in the Vostryakovo District.

The last crime of which the defendants were accused was committed on the night of September 3, 2014. Near the gas station at the 35th kilometer of the Moscow Ring Road, they once again attacked a driver, firing at him three times and hitting him with a bat, but the man managed to escape. In addition, the gang committed several more attacks, the victims of which managed to survive.

The Prosecutor General’s office staff has nothing to do with it

In November 2014, the main members of the gang were detained. One of the alleged leaders of the gang, native of Kyrgyzstan Ibaydullo Subkhanov, who used a fake passport in the name of Rustam Usmanov, was killed during the detention. Barricaded in a house located at the address the Gorky Street, 3 in the village of Udelnaya near Moscow, he offered armed resistance, threw a grenade, but was killed by the Special Forces. Later in the house an arsenal with 60 items of various weapons was found.

It was noted that Ibaydullo Subkhanov (whose brother, incidentally, was killed in the Moscow City Court) was recruited by radical Islamists in his homeland back in 2011 and fought in Syria on the side of ISIS (an organization is banned in Russia). Arriving in Russia, he made friends with members of another banned organization in Russia, Hizb ut-Tahrir, with whom they formed this gang.

Возле дома, где находилась «штаб-квартира» банды

House of the gang

After the arrest of the gang members, the president of the country, Vladimir Putin, in an interview with Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev noted that this crime is of a "terrorist nature". At the same time, the Head of State also mentioned the involvement of FSB officers in the capture of the criminals. A few days later, the official representative of the Investigative Committee, Vladimir Markin, said that while committing murders, the gang members were motivated only by selfish motives, which was stealing the money of their victims. According to Kommersant, in two years or so, the “GTA gang” kidnapped valuables and money worth of 17 million rubles from the injured car owners. However, during the investigation, the versions were voiced that the attacks on the drivers were initiated with the purpose of training the members of the criminal group for further participation in military operations in Syria or in Uzbekistan. The target could be Russia itself, in which the criminals’ actions should have caused panic among the population.

However, in the end, there were no articles on extremism and terrorism in the prosecution.

The correspondent of MediaZona published a dialogue between the accused Anvar Ulugmuradov and the judge, which he heard during the hearing on October 27, 2016.

- Can I ask that nothing happens to me, that I don’t face poisoning or some other unforeseen options?

- What guarantees do you ask from the court?

- I'm being pressured by certain agencies, if I say what actually happened, I was promised something.

- To begin with, I do not know what agencies you are talking about, and what you were promised. You can refuse to testify or give evidence. Which testimonies you decide to sound is your right.

- Can I expect to be untouched?

- What do you want? That I invite you to my apartment? What guarantees do you want? The court cannot give you anything, and the Criminal Procedure Code does not give anyone any guarantees...

The involvement of manager of the Prosecutor General's Office Alexey Staroverov is also one the interesting facts in the case. It was his house that had to be stormed by the Special Forces to catch the leader of the "GTA gang" who was hiding there. According to Kommersant, the house belonged not to the official himself, but to his mother.

As the Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said, Staroverov was interrogated as a witness and gave "exhaustive evidence", from which it followed that the relative of Staroverov was renting out a suburban house to Subkhanov. The employee of the Prosecutor General's Office allegedly did not communicate with the gang members.

Алексей Староверов

Alexey Staroverov

Nevertheless, it was later reported that, based on the results of the search, during which the weapons were found, a criminal case was initiated against Staroverov under the article on weapons trafficking (Art. 222 of the Russian Criminal Code). The corresponding decree was signed by the First Deputy Chairman of the Investigative Committee, Vasily Piskarev. However, a few days later, Deputy Prosecutor General Viktor Grinh canceled the decision of the competing agency.

In 2013, Forbes magazine named Staroverov the richest employee of the Prosecutor General's Office with a family income of 50 million rubles. Half of this amount is accounted for his entrepreneur spouse.

By the way, Nadezhda Staroverova’s business connections were peculiar. Along with the wife (former as of now) of Deputy Prosecutor General Gennady Lopatin named Olga, they own Arline LLC, which is engaged in the production of sugar. In 2008, this company became a co-founder (50%) of Sakhar Kubani LLC (Sugar of Kuban), registered in the village of Kushchevskaya, the Krasnodar Territory. The remaining owners are Anzhela Maria Tsapok and Natalia Tsepovyaz – the wives of the Kushchevsakaya gang leader, Sergey Tsapok, and his closest assistant Vyacheslav Tsepovyaz, who was a deputy from the party United Russia.

At the country house of the head of the Medical and Rehabilitation Center of the Ministry of Health, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences and Staroverov's friend Konstantin Lyadov, the gang’s gunsmith's workshop was found. One of the gang members, Fazalidin Khasanov, worked in the house of a famous surgeon as a guard and servant. And in his spare time, in the back room, he was making fire pistols out of the traumatic ones, with which then murders were committed. Using a small lathe, Khasanov even managed to make a sniper rifle.

When the message that the Investigative Committee had initated a criminal case against Staroverov transpired, he quickly went into a clinic run by Lyadov with a hypertensive illness and filed an application for dismissal.

Subsequently, neither the Staroverov nor Lyadov were involved in the case.

So, after the shootings in the Mosoblsud court, more questions emerged in the already quite murky case of the “GTA gang”. And we can only hope that the resonance caused by the failed escape will force everyone to monitor the outcome of this case more closely and give an answer: why and in whose interests did the usual migrant workers killed so many innocent people.

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