60 years for all: sentences for Armen Kanevskoy’s gang passed 

60 years for all: sentences for Armen Kanevskoy’s gang passed
Armen Arutyunyan

The prosecution requested more severe sentences, up to life imprisonment, for two of the four accomplices of thief in law Armen Kanevsky, who died in 2010 in the colony, but the court decided otherwise.

The Krasnodar regional court finished the trial of the case on the gang of thief in law Armen Arutyunyan, also known as Armen Kanevsky. The jury found accusations of defendants Oleg Vanchenko, Ernest Lalabekov, Minak Torosyan and Alexander Zhigalko of banditry, extortion, murder and illegal arms trafficking proved and sentenced them to various terms of imprisonment.

According to the materials of the court, Lalabekov was sentenced to 21.5 years of imprisonment, Vanchenko – to 20 years, Torosyan and Zhigalko – to 10 and 9 years respectively. All convicts will serve time in a strict regime colony. It is worth noting that two weeks ago the prosecutor asked for life imprisonment for Lalabekov and Vanchenko during the debate, and 13 and 11 years of imprisonment for Torosyan and Zhigalko, but the jury passed a more lenient verdict.

The court found that the four convicts were part of the organized crime group of thief in law Armen Arutyunyan (Armen Kanevsky), known in the 2000s as an accomplice of Ded Hassan in the southern region. As previously reported by The CrimeRussia, the gang operated in the Krasnodar Krai for more than 15 years and was characterized by a strict hierarchy, as well as by brutality and impudence of the crimes committed.

Depending on the role of each gang member, they were charged with Banditry (Art. 209 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), Extortion committed by an organized group with causing serious harm to the health of the victim (Art. 163 of the Criminal Code), Murder of two or more persons (Art. 105 of the Criminal Code) and Illegal Sale of Firearms and Ammunition (Art. 222 of the Criminal Code). According to a secret witness, whose testimony is featured in the case, Vanchenko and Lalabekov were closest to Armen Kanevskoy, performing leadership functions in the gang.

According to the materials of the criminal case, in 2006 Armen Kanevskoy and his henchmen demanded co-owner of cognac factory Novokubanskoye CJSC Suren Egiazarov to pay them 30 thousand dollars monthly under threat of physical violence. Egiazarov, having paid once, then refused. After that, in January 2007 Egiazarov and the two athletes who accompanied him were killed on farm Trudobelikovsky. The gang members got rid of the bodies with the help of the owner of the local cafe, Sergey Khachatryan, but two weeks later they killed him as well, fearing that Khachatryan could extradite blow whistle on them. Khachatryan's body was also hidden in an abandoned well and was discovered only 8 years later.

In April 2017 a former member of the gang, who spoke in court as a secret witness, said that the gang was involved in more than 20 unsolved crimes, for which he is ready to testify.

Meanwhile, lawyers of Vanchenko and Lalabekov demanded to send the criminal case for a new consideration, insisting on the innocence of their clients. Their position was based on the fact that the bodies of the dead – Suren Egiazarov and his accompanying athletes Vladimir Mollaev and Artur Ovasopyan (world champion in sambo-wrestling among students) have not been found yet, as well as the weapons from which they were killed.

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Grave of Armen Kanevsky

It is worth noting that Armen Kanevsky himself was not in the dock with his accomplices – he died in 2010 from diabetes mellitus in the place of detention, where he was serving a sentence for another criminal case.

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