Back in 90s: Kvartala gang solving Kazan residents’ housing problem
Bats, electric shockers, handcuffs, and batons. This is the simple arsenal, which the gang of ‘black estate agents’ successfully used against its clients, reinforced by 20-year experience as part of one of the bloodiest OCCs of Tatarstan.
The ‘digital gang’ operated in the Republic of Tatarstan in the 1990s. The Tatarstan Supreme Court convicted the key gang members in 2008. Kvartala is believed to have fallen into smaller gangs that would commit lesser crimes.
Four Kazan residents were arrested on suspicion of creating a gang of ‘black realtors’. Gang creation was not something new for the arrestees, as it turned out later. 3 out of the 4 turned out to be former Kvartala Tatar gang members. The gang operated in the republic in the 1990s.
The gang members had two officers of the Gruppa Kompaniy Kazan-Invest in the city. They would loans money against real estate by pretending to provide financial support and legal services. What they were really doing was signing purchase and sale contracts for apartments they took away from their victims. They would force away those who refused to leave their apartments using such standard tools of the time as handcuffs, electric shockers, batons, and baseball bats.
In the summer of 2016, employees of the Russian MIA Tatarstan Department for Combatting Organized Crime found out that a gang of black realtors was operating in Kazan. They soon learned the gang operated under the guise of the Gruppa Kompaniy Kazan-Invest. The company would lure clients in with 'lucrative offers' to lend money immediately with almost no documents required, in the shortest time possible, and regardless of one’s credit history.
Ad of Gruppa Kompaniy Kazan-Invest
The company’s offices were located in a densely populated Kazan district near the city center. The company targeted those on the fringes of society, as well as disadvantaged groups. It is worth mentioning the gang members looked for potential clients themselves. They targeted lonely real estate owners, preferably mentally disturbed people or alcoholics. This means the company had a vast database. Such people had already had loans with high annual rate usually. Sometimes, they would try to persuade people ‘peacefully’ by promising to help them with their debts and take new loans against any real estate, this time from the company. Other times, they would bluntly threaten with murder. Deceived Kazan residents entangled in the meshes of the swindlers would sign real estate contracts. The swindlers usually bet on legal illiteracy of their victims who had no idea they transferred ownership of their apartments, country cottages, and garages for 10 to 50 percent of their market value. Victims would wake up with bitter realization only when sturdy young men with baseball bats would knock on their doors demanding they moved out. Such people would end up on the streets, in homeless shelters, or simply went missing. The gang members would sell taken away apartments and share money made from it.
The fraud company targeted those on the fringes of society
It has yet to be known how much people fell victims to the gang. The people arrested in the framework of the criminal case owned 52 real estate items, according to the Russian Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography Tatarstan Republic Department. Only 3 gang victims have been found so far. The purchase and sales contracts in question were signed between 2012 and 2014. There are 50 victims, according to a pre-trial investigation. The police does not rule out the gang may have killed some of its victims.
It is believed that Avtandil Yanakov took control of all the Kazan Leninsky District (was renamed and is now known as the Novo-Savinovsky District) entrepreneurs. Yanakov managed to consolidate several smaller gangs into a major one in the 2000s. It was more than 1,000 people strong and had about $1 billion of collective money. Their 'headquarters' was located in the Tornado billiard room.
It turned out that 44-year-old Ozerny village, Visokogorsky District resident and former Kazan resident Marat Adgamov was the gang leader. He has been accused of 3 crimes so far. Adgamov was one of the Kvartala leaders, according to the police. Moreover, 3 more people who "lent legal support" to the Company were arrested, namely a 43-year-old old lawyer and 2 brothers. The 3 suspects are members of the Kvartala gang that operated in Kazan in the late 1990s. The gang was also known as a ‘digital gang’ due to their unique criminal style: it specialized in blackmailing and 'shielding' of entrepreneurs.
The Tatarstan Supreme Court convicted the gang key figures in 2008. 20 people were found guilty of multiple murder, blackmail, and robbery. They were given big custodial sentences. Some were sentenced to live imprisonment.
The gang leader Avtandil Yanakov, also known as Avto, fled to Greece where he was convicted in 2015. The crime lord was given a 14 year-long custodial sentence. However, he appealed the decision, and the convict was released on a €10,000 bail. Yanakov has to register with the police every month and is forbidden from leaving Greece. Kvartala is believed to have broken into smaller gangs after the trial. These new gangs would specialize in lesser crimes. Adgamov’s gang was one of them.
The gang would kill expensive foreign-made cars owners to commit car theft, illegal drug trade, robbery, and contract murders. For example, the gang members killed 6 car owners and stole their cars in a week one time. They killed many people for money, too. For example, the gang members killed a Moscow businessman on the order of his companion. He paid for the hit with a house in the Vladimir Region. It was retrofitted as a staging area.
The trial of OCC members, 2008
The black realtors’ leader registered as a self-employed individual 7 years ago. He sold gold. He was registered as the owner of several construction companies. It is worth mentioning that the Gruppa Kompaniy Kazan-Invest Company was also initially involved in construction and pawnshops but later was turned into a financial and legal company providing help to the general public.
Some victims were able to get their apartments back without Adgamov and his accomplices being convicted of criminal offenses. The courts canceled 2 real estate contracts. The owners of the 2 apartments were mentally disabled people. Black realtors were arrested in different Kazan districts at the same time after the contracts were finally canceled.
The Investigative Unit of the Main Department of the Russian MIA in Tatarstan opened a criminal case for violation of article 159, part 4 (Swindling Committed by an Organized Group) of the Russian Criminal Code. The police found ‘promises to pay’, pledge agreements, purchase and sale contracts for apartments, country cottages, and land while searching the arrestees’ houses. Moreover, it found stun guns, baseball bats, and handcuffs. The police confiscated 2 unregistered hunting rifles and 350 shells when searching Adgamov’s house. It found 5.5 million rubles and accounting calculation drafts in one of the realtor’s apartment and car.
All the 4 criminals were arrested. Court also arrested Toyota Land Cruiser 200, BMW Х5, Lada Granta the criminal bought using criminal money.
The deputy director of the institution Imuschestvo (Property), Alexander Ivanov, and deputy director of the property fund of St. Petersburg, Ilya Zhinkin, gave companies the pre-emptive right to buy out the areas on Nevsky.
The opposition leader was detained in the afternoon of February 22 in Moscow while he was walking out of a dental clinic. Navalny is accused of a second participation in an unsanctioned event, for which he faces up to 30 days of jail.
No violations have been revealed in the criminal prosecution of Colonel Zakharchenko’s family members. The appeal of lawyer Emelyanov to the president was forwarded to the Prosecutor General's Office and the ICR.