Crime lords’ foreign refuge
The most recent stories of Russian mafia members settling down abroad trace back to Spain mostly. That is where numerous former USSR descendants with criminal record headed to in 1990th. However, Spain is not the only place. A lot of the people set up their houses in Germany, Czech Republic, and Greece.
The sea and sun were not the only things that made the Iberian Peninsula popular with them; it is liberal legislation, too. The country that had just gone through an economic crisis did not ask wealthy foreigners about ways in which they enriched themselves. Why, one may ask? Because they would estate purchase and build into real. This attitude made it really easy for criminals to launder money they illegally earned back home. It was not until 2000th when the UN forced Madrid into stricter financial regulation. This led to a change in attitude towards Russians (the local population regarded all the former USSR descendants to be Russians), too. However, Spain is not the only place where such people would settle down; Germany, Czech Republic and Greece were popular, too. It does not help the situation that their criminal business had long become trans-boundary.
Spanish law enforcement conducted the Avispa operation, arresting several dozen people. However, Zakhar Kalashov, a criminal leader, also known as Shakro Molodoy, managed to escape. The main suspect was arrested in the UAE only in May 2006. He was then extradited to Spain and accused of money laundering (almost 8.000.000 euros) and tax-dodging. Mr Kalashov was later sentenced to 9 years in prison and 20.000.000 euros penalty. He returned to the Russian Federation upon serving his sentence despite Georgia filing a request to the Spanish Ministry of Justice for his extradition. May we remind you that the country sentenced him in absentia to 18 years in prison for theft and Creation of an Armed Criminal Community and Participation Therein. In the Russian Federation, he is seen as the successor of Ded Hasan (Grandfather Hasan), the informal former USSR criminal leader. However, the Tverskoy Court arrested him before long. He was charged with blackmailing Zhanna Kim, the Elements restaurant owner, and demanding 8 000 000 rubles and arrested November 15 at the very least. Many employees of the Investigative Committee of the Russia Federation were arrested on the allegation of accessory in crime as the result.
Petrov, Malishev and Romanov
Spanish law enforcement conducted the Tres operation against Russian mafia in 2008-2010, arresting 20 criminals suspected of money laundering and illegal arms trade. The people arrested belonged to the Tambovo-Mytishchenskaya gang owning dozens of hotels in Malaga, Valencia, and Alicante. They devised their own money laundering scheme, too. They would purchase ever growing in price Spanish apartments through dummy companies. Gennady Petrov and Aleksandr Malyshev were the gang leaders, according to Spanish law enforcement. Mr Malyshev was convicted on multiple occasions and got to know influential people during his time in the KGB (Jose Aliesesa Sansoy, the Colonel of the Spanish National Intelligence Center particular). He was arrested at his Majorcan villa. However, he was soon released on his own recognizance not to leave Spain. Mr Petrov went on a permitted medical vacation to the Russian Federation to never return to Spain again soon afterwards. Malishev, a former wrestler who founded a gang back 1980s, returned home next. Aleksandr Romanov, another arrestee detained in Mayorka and a gang leader, agreed to cooperate with the investigation. He said Aleksand Torshin, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation Vice-Chairman, was the one to plot all the crimes committed. Mr Torshin repelled the accusations. Spanish law enforcement have already linked the cases under investigation to high-ranking Russia Federation officials (Vladislav Reznik, the former State Duma Deputy; Igor Sobolevsky, the former Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation Deputy Head; Nikolay Aulov, the Federal Drug Control Service of Russian Federation Deputy Head; Oleg Diripaslka; German Gref; Dmitry Kozak and others). The Public Prosecution Office of Spain demands 146 years in prison and 2 700 000 000 euros penalty from 27 people connected to the Russian mafia case.
Kakhaber Shushanashvily, a famous Armenian-Russian gang leader also known as Kakha Rustavsky, was arrested in Spain in May 2016. He was sentenced to 20 years and 11 months in prison. 12 other members of his gang were sentenced to 1.5 to 7 years in prison. They are also accused of money laundering through cleaning companies, car washes, and postal services. The leader was also convicted of plotting assassination of Vladimir Dzhanashiya, another criminal lord also known as Lado, in Madrid in 2010. He is guilty of blackmailing, drug trafficking, swindling, use of fake bank cards, theft. His gang operated not only in Spain, but in Italy, Germany, Switzerland and France as well.
The Kakha Rustavsky’s gang was probably a part of a gang led by Shushanashvily Elder, his elder brother also known as Lasha, according to earlier reports by the CrimeRussia. Shushanashvily Elder was arrested in Greece in January 2012. His arrest was authorized by a Spanish arrest warrant. Shushanashvily Elder was carrying a fake passport with him when arrested. Madrid accused him of being a gang leader, money laundering, and a murderous assault committed in 2009. However, Lasha was not extradited to Spain. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison in Greece. However, he served his sentence in a comfortable prison apartment with a private chef and means of communication. He was reported to return to Moscow and be seen in Shakro Molodoy’s office during the summer of 2015. However, reports were dismissed later.
Koba Rustakovsky, a criminal lord and the right-hand man of the Shushanashvily brothers, was arrested on a tip-off by Spain in Switzerland in April 2016. He and 16 accomplices of his are accused of money laundering, murderous attempt, illegal possession of firearm, and swindling. This arrest proved that Russian mafia has long been operating outside the Russian Federation. Koba led a subdivision of Lasha Shushanashvily’s gang operating in several UN countries, according to Swiss police.
David Gvadzhay, a crime lord also known as Dato Tobolsky, was arrested in the Czech Republic in March 2016. This arrest is yet another evidence that Russian mafia has long been operating outside the Russian Federation. The gang he founded operated in Prague and Karlovy Vary, according to the investigators. It specialized in blackmailing and had close ties with other former USSR gangs.
Merab Dzangveladze, a Georgian citizen who obtained Russian citizenship in early 2000th, was arrested under Italian government request in July 2013. The criminal lord who was “coronated” at the age of 24 faced trial at the age of 54 together with 18 accomplices of his on the allegations of breaking and entering, blackmailing, money laundering, and forgery of documents. However, despite them being sent to jail, their terms ended up being very short. For example, Dzangveladze and Besik Kuprashvily and Temur Nemsitsveridze, his assistants, also known as Beso and Tsripa respectively, were sentences to only 4 years and 8 months respectively. They are about to serve their sentences soon. Kazakhstan is ready to sentence the crime lord to about 20 more years in prison for creation of a criminal community and participation therein once he is released.
Shedely Ilych Z.
A major trial against Russian mafia is currently conducted in Luneburg, Germany. Sitting are kept strictly private with no information given to the public. The only things known are that there are 21 defendants; they are 34 to 61 y. o. and originate from Germany, Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Czech Republic, and Turkey; the gang operated in Hanover from 2009 to 2014 and committed 15 crimes, according to the investigation; the defendants are accused of launching the following swindling scheme: they would use post to order fork lifters, phones, PCs, and other equipment; they would not pay recurring fees, re-selling goods instead. They caused damage for about 450 000 euros. Shedely Ilych Z. is accused of being the gang leader. He is a 58 y. o. man of Georgian descent. Despite the investigators not disclosing his last name, it is a safe guess the man in question is Shedely Zarandiyu, a famous criminal lord. The trial will continue up to December. The ruling is to be made in 2017 at the very least. Local media outlets have already called the trial the most expensive one in the recent German history, since some 2 000 000 euros of budget money have already been spent on interpreters and translators, attorneys at law, and experts.
10% of all the people in custody are the former USSR descendants, according to an earlier report made by the German Federal Criminal Department. That is about 5 000 people one could recruit.
Russian mafia does not restrict itself to operating in Europe exclusively. For example, Armen Kazaryan, a famous crime lord also known as Pzo, made a deal with US investigators in 2013. He was previously accused of money laundering, credit cards forgery, and financial swindling. He was the head of the Mirzoyan-Terdzhanyan gang operating in New-York and Los-Angeles. Pzo was facing up to 64 years in prison. However, Mark Geragos, a friend of Kim Kardashian’s father and the best US lawyer, became his attorney at law. The criminal lord confessed of racketing; the New-York Federal Court sentenced him to only 37 months in jail, 60 000 US dollar penalty, and confiscation of property (including a 600 000 US dollar worth house in California).
Another story ended more dramatically. Vasily Naumov, a criminal lord also known as Yakut, was shot in Pusan, South Korea in 2003. He provided a crime-sponsored cover to illegal sea food catching and smuggling at Sakhalin and Kurils Islands. Nikolay Gvozda, an accomplice of his, was badly wounded. Vladimir Petrakov, a Vladivostok gang leader also known as Petrak, hired Petr Nikulin to kill the man, according to Korean investigators. The Leninsky District sentenced them to 8 and 5 years in prison respectively on accusation of willful infliction of bodily injury and major swindling. However, they were not charged with the murder.