A story about outrage and viability of the Russian clique. Part 2
The CrimeRussia continues to explore extraordinary talents of certain Russian kingpins, who are feeling quite well, unlike their departed colleagues.
It is no secret that at the beginning of the 2000s, the smartest mobsters managed not only to survive the endless criminal wars, but also to legalize the capital they had earned with blood. Today these people are respectable citizens, or influential businessmen, as the story goes, and generous patrons. In the first part of its investigation, the CrimeRussia wrote about the fates of the leader of the Podolskaya gang Sergey Lalakin, the Taganskaya kingpin Grigory Rabinovich, and many others. Today we will focus on such high-profile names like Radik Yusupov (Drakon), Sergey Mikhailov (Mikhas), Viktor Averin (Avera-senior), Viktor Gavrilenkov (Cherep), Gennady Petrov, and Vladimir Deryuzhkin (Deryuga).
The leader of the Sevastopolskie gang Radik Yusupov (Drakon) began his criminal career in the late 80s. Having served his time in prison, he joined the Kazan group Chainiki, which was in turn affiliated with another criminal group — Zhilka. The latter controlled major companies in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Perm, and Sevastopol.
Following the conflict with the Zhilka leader Haydar Zakirov (Hayder) Yusupov moved to Moscow. Hayder himself was killed in the August of 1996. In Moscow, Drakon (a nickname given for his particular cruelty) started to strive, and soon took all of the existing Kazan gangs under his wing. Yusupov’s headquarters was located in the Sevastopolskaya hotel, which gave its name to the organized crime group.
Later, Yusupov began to position himself as a businessman with shares in various commercial structures. In particular, he is credited with participation in the activities of a major Tatar developer — Suvar-Kazan. There were reports that on the eve of the Kazan Millennium celebration, Yusupov assisted in financing the construction of shopping and entertainment malls Riviera and Suvar Plaza. However, Yusupov tried not to display his participation in the commercial projects, thus for now the only documented evidence is that in 2005 he registered as an individual entrepreneur. He established an unremarkable profit partnership called Rassvet for the development of recreational facilities, located in the Tver region. Besides, he became the owner of 30% of the Moscow private security firm Garda. One can only guess what types of relationship he had with other business entities. Still, through the above-mentioned companies, the trail leads to a variety of firms. Among them — retailers, auto dealers, developers, charities, banks, farmers, industrial companies, and many others.
All in all, by the mid-2000s, Yusupov managed to almost completely cleanse himself of a past life. Perhaps, he himself would have forgotten about it, if he had not been recalled. In 2008, one of the detained members of the criminal group, which had once been controlled by Drakon, spoke about his former patron’s involvement in the murder of businessmen, committed in Tatarstan in 1996.
In May 2008, Yusupov was detained by officers of the Investigative Department of the Russian Prosecutor’s Office in Tatarstan and the MIA Office for Combating Organized Crime. He was charged under the articles Premeditated Murder of two or more persons committed by a group of people with aggravating circumstances, on preliminary arrangement, in a way that threatens the lives of multiple people (Art. 105 of the Criminal Code), Preparation of a Crime and Attempted Crime (Art. 30 of the Criminal Code), and Complicity (Art. 32 of the Criminal Code).
Yunusov’s friend, Rustem Saymanov, was also arrested on the same charges. Law enforcers claimed he had ordered a number of murders and was the second most important man in Drakon’s team. By that time, he tried to come clean and became the sports director of the Rubin football club.
Photo: Rustem Saymanov
In 1999, Saymanov was mentioned in connection with the scandal that revolved around the Minnibaevo Gas Processing Plant. Law enforcement officers then prevented the Sevastopolskie gang from establishing control over the enterprise. First they tried to push Saymanov into the board of directors, and when it failed, they decided to buy a blocking or controlling stake of the Minnibaevo GPP.
Since 2006, Saymanov as a member of the Rubin football club leadership was responsible for the negotiation of transfers and financial part of the transactions. Media outlets reported that it was thanks to Saymanov that Rubin acquired such well-known players like striker of the Ukrainian national team Sergey Rebrov, two players of the Turkish national team Gökdeniz Karadeniz and Hasan Kabze, as well as the Serbian striker and top scorer of Euro 2000 Savo Milosevic. By the way, in 2008, Rubin for the first time became the champion of Russia and repeated its success the following year.
Immediately after Yusupov’s arrest, the president of Suvar-Kazan Boris Chub disappeared under mysterious circumstances. He went on a fishing trip and never returned. There were different theories, including an accident, murder or even a re-enactment of the death. Later, Chub’s body was found in the Kama river.
On March 12, 2010, the case of the Sevastopolskie gang was transferred to the Supreme Court of Tatarstan. It was reported that all the accused, including Saymanov and Yusupov, confessed to the killings and banditry.
In August of the same year, the Tatarstan Supreme Court issued a verdict in the criminal case against 14 defendants from the Sevastopolskie gang. Of the 20 murders charges against them 12 were proved. All of them were committed by the Sevastopolskie gang memebers in the 90s during the conflict with Kazan gang Zhilka. Yusupov himself was found guilty of an attempted murder of Artur Yakupov (Akula) from the Zhilka gang. He was sentenced to four years in prison, but due to the lapse of time released in the courtroom. Three other members of the organized crime group were also released. Saymanov was sentenced to six years in a penal colony of standard regime, while other 9 members of the gang received various terms, from conditional to 9.5 years in a prison of standard regime.
But Yusupov could return to the peaceful life of a reputable businessman only for a short time. Mothers of the deceased members of the Zhilki gang disagreed with such soft decision of the court and the Prosecutor's Office appealed the sentence. In 2011, at the retrial, the leader of the organized crime group received 8 years in a colony of standard regime. However, Yusupov’s life in captivity could not be called actually harsh. More than that, the captivity itself was in question — Yusupov was repeatedly seen hundreds of kilometers away from prison. For example, in 2014 and 2015, he and the famous singer Grigoriy Leps visited the grave of their mutual friend at the Kazan cemetery, although technically he was in a penal colony number 17 in Digitlyah. Mamadysh district.
Photo: Radik Yusupov (far left)
In March 2016, Radik Yusupov was released on parole. The businessman Rustem Saymanov is also free to walk where he chooses. According to the unified state register of individual entrepreneurs (EGRIP), he is engaged in lease property, investment, research of market and public opinion, as well as advice on business.
The leader of the Solntsevskaya gang Sergey Mikhailov (Mikhas) is also trying to bury his past. This summer, taking advantage of the new law on the right to oblivion, Mikhailov appealed to search engines Yandex and Google, demanding to restrict the search results on his name mentioned in connection with the Solntsevskaya gang. Mikhailov explained to the media that the Internets (as he put it) contain information about him allegedly being "the organizer and leader of the Solntsevskaya organized criminal group, a criminal kingpin nicknamed Mikhas, who has a criminal record." He claims that this information is unreliable, and moreover — patently false, which defames the honor and dignity of the person and citizen, and undermines the business reputation of an entrepreneur, social activist and chairman of the Uchastie charity fund.
As a reminder, in 1996, Sergey Mikhailov was accused by the Swiss authorities of being a member of the Solntsevskaya criminal group and money laundering. After two years under investigation, Mikhailov was fully acquitted by the jury, received compensation in the amount of € 500 thousand, and returned to Russia. After that, he devoted himself entirely to the charity. In 1998, together with another member of the Solntsevskaya gang, Viktor Averin (Avera-senior), Mikhailov established the Uchastie fund.
Photo: Mikhailov, Mike Tyson, and Averin
Since then, Mikhailov has been trying to improve his image. On his website at www.sergey-mihailov.ru, he talks about the foundation's activities and boasts about his meetings with famous people, countless awards, diplomas, tributes, and congratulations. Among his numerous awards, he claims to have the medal Glory to Russia handed "to commemorate the reunification of the Crimea and Sevastopol to Russia," and the President watch with Vladimir Putin's signature at the certificate.
Fate brought two athletes Mikhailov and Averin together back in the 80s, when both worked as waiters in the Sovetsky restaurant. In late 1989, they were developed by the MIA, which attempted to charge them with racketeering. According to the investigation, Mikhas and Avera extorted money and a Volvo car from the Fond cooperative chairman Vadim Rozenbaum. However, the case yielded zero results. Both leaders had already acquired the necessary connections and some time later were released from prison due to lack of evidence. In the future, Avera had to deal with law enforcement agencies more than a few times, for example, when the officers found a pistol of foreign production among his things. Or when he had to protect his younger brother Alexander, who had beaten a few majors of the Federal Guard Service in the restaurant. Still, every single time Averin Sr. got away with it, even the officers asked the investigators to close the case into their beating, claiming that they themselves were guilty and had no complaints against the younger brother of Viktor Averin.
Avery Sr. is associated with a notorious kingpin Semyon Mogilevich. Law enforcement agencies in the United States and the European Union call him the boss of bosses of the Russian-Ukrainian mafia. In addition, Averin had things in common with one of the leaders of the East European international criminal group Brothers' Circle, Gafur Rakhimov (Gafur the Black), the organizer of the opium traffic from Uzbekistan to Russia.
Now old friends Averin and Mikhailov either actually help people who found themselves in a difficult situation through their fund, or simply make the most of their gangster trust.
Velikolukskaya rulers of St. Petersburg
Another notorious gangster of the 90s, Viktor Gavrilenko (Cherep), has also started a simple life. On a par with his brother Nikolay (Stepanitch), Cherep headed the Velikolukskaya gang. After the death of his brother in the war with the Tambovskaya gang for influence in St. Petersburg, following an attempt on his life, and later a complete destruction of the gang, Viktor emigrated to Spain in 1996. He decided to return only after the arrest of the Tambovskaya gang leader Vladimir Kumarin, 12 years later. If while the 90s, the brothers owned almost half of the city — the network of shops and restaurants, real estate agencies, gambling, virtually all joint Russian-Finnish ventures, a fishing company, and even the Neste Oil concern — until 2012, Cherep was listed as a co-owner of only one legal entity, founded in 1992, the Allan Trading Corporation joint venture Azot.
Photo: Viktor Gavrilenkov (left) and his brother Nikolay (right)
In the old days, the brothers started with protection racket of small criminals, like black marketers, money changers, illegal sellers of consumer goods, etc. Then they switched to the big businessmen, reputed themselves as such, simultaneously fighting with rival gangs. Now Gavrilenkov lives in a quiet area of St. Petersburg on the Kamennoostrovsky Prospekt, in a prestigious house. Sometimes he goes out to play tennis in the Dinastiya sports club. He moves around the city accompanied by guards on two Mercedes cars with "O... OA" license plates. Some of these number plates refer to the administration and the state officials lower than vice-governors and management of the committees, some — to the law enforcement agencies. There are cases when the cars from this series are given and under representation purposes to private traders. The price for such number plates can go up to 5000 USD.
Since 2008, another returnee has resided in a luxury apartment not far from Gavrilenkov, on the Beryozovaya alley, Krestovsky Island. His name is Gennady Petrov and he sided with Gavrilenkov’s gangster in the conflict between the Malyshevskie and the Velikolukskaya gangs that happened in Devyatkino in 1987. However, later he went over to their enemies. By that time, the head of the gang Alexander Malyshev had already been convicted twice (in 1977 and 1984), both times for the murder. In the late 80s Malyshev united about 20 small gangs under his leadership. The groups included a variety of people, from the harsh Kemerovo bandits to mobsters from Ulan-Ude and the Caucasus. The total number of his gang members, according to security officials, reached 2000 fighters. The group was growing, and by 1992 was considered one of the largest in Russia. However, in the same year, a lot of them were detained on charges of extortion. Later, most of the accused were acquitted, while Malyshev himself received only 2 years for illegal possession of weapons. Unfortunately, the Tambovskaya gang took their place while they were busy disputing in court. In the late 90s, Malyshev decided to leave Russia. First he received Estonian citizenship, then lived in Germany, and finally settled down in Spain. Soon the rest of the gang, including Petrov, joined him.
Photo: Petrov detained in Spain
But their quiet life in a foreign country could not last long. Spain initiated investigation into the laundering of funds invested in real estate. Law enforcement officers kept track of two Russian citizens - Gennady Petrov and Sergey Kuzmin (Kuzma) — who had already been held under special control of the Committee on Combatting the Organized Crime in Russia. In addition, according to the Spanish indictment, their names were known to the US and the EU law enforcement agencies.
In 2008, Spain organized a major operation to arrest more than 20 Russian mobsters. They were accused of arms and drug trafficking, murder, extortion, forgery, smuggling, and corruption. Among those detained were Malyshev and Petrov. But the latter soon managed to escape to Russia under the pretext of medical treatment. He is currently considered "hiding from the Spanish justice." But Malyshev had to stay in the foreign country for quite some time. And while now Malyshev, as he himself said, just wants to "rest in retirement," Petrov is still full of energy and determination.
His main asset is connections. Back in 1998-99, Petrov became the co-owner of the Rossiya bank. The bank’s main shareholder and the chairman of the bank's board of directors Yuri Kovalchuk created the Ozero dacha cooperative together with Vladimir Putin.
Photo: Anton Petrov
At present, according to information from the Kartoteka database, Gennady Petrov is not listed owns no companies, but his son Anton has lots of them. In his 35, he is already a billionaire, and is listed among the twenty most influential Russian businessmen. The scope of his business activities is very wide: the provision of telecommunications services, construction, network of jewelry stores, fitness clubs, trade of used electronics, investing in securities, and many more.
However, not everyone managed to fully adjust to the new reality.
The leader of the Domodedovskie gang Vladimir Deryuzhkin (Deryuga), like many others, began his career in commerce with the protection racket. In the 90s, he controlled the whole Domodedovo district, imposing taxes on almost all businessmen. Over time, the area of his influence expanded to also include Lenin, Stupino, Kashira, and Vidnovsky districts. As a rule, Deryuga led negotiations with businessmen in a company of a dozen armed mobsters. Such arguments were convincing enough and hardly anyone refused to pay.
In 2007, Deryuzhkin apparently decided to cease his illegal activities and co-founded the Rosagroprom agricultural cooperative, but he turned out to be a poor farmer. In March 2011, Deryuga was arrested along with his associates Sergey Sergeev (Matros), Pikalov, and Tumanov. This was in response to the complaint filed in the law enforcement by a businessman Boris Vaysfligel. He has lived in the US for a long, where he worked as a taxi driver, and then returned to his native Domodedovo district. There the businessman established the Kit taxi company with 60 cars. His successful work did not go unnoticed, and in early 2009, Vaysfligel was approached by Deryuga’s people with an urgent proposal to share the income. The businessman refused, and after many threats and attempts to block the work of taxi, Vaysfligel decided to turn to the police.
Photo: Sergey Sergeev (Matros)
In August 2013, the gang members appeared in court on charges of Extortion (Art. 163 of the Criminal Code) and Robbery (Art. 162 of the Criminal Code). The Prosecutor asked 10 years in prison for Vladimir Deryuzhkin, 12 years — for Sergey Sergeev, and from 5 to 10 years — for the rest of the OCG participants. However, strange events followed: the meetings were constantly postponed, the judges could not reach a verdict more than three months, and when it was finally delivered, it turned out to be very soft. Sergeev received 5 years in prison, while Deryuzhkin, Pikalova and Tumanov were sentenced to 3 years of general regime colony. Another gang member, Bezrukovov, was even put on probation. So, perhaps, we will see Deryugin again pretty soon, gathering his harvest. Whether it will be from the field or from businessmen, remains to be seen.
The prosecutors want the former Russian Federation Council member to go to prison for 14 years instead of 9 and pay a 500-million-ruble ($8.8 million) fine instead of 70 million rubles ($1.2 million).