If-Kozlov crime group leader receives life sentence 

If-Kozlov crime group leader receives life sentence
Yury Kozlov Photo: KomiInform

Yury Kozlov’s partners in crime have also received various sentences.

The Supreme Court has sentenced Yury Kozlov, a leader of an organized criminal group If-Kozlov, to life in a high-security penal colony and a 1.5 million rubles ($22.2 thousand) fine, reports KomiInform news agency. Denis Armyakov, an active member of the gang, has also received a life sentence and 1.2 million rubles ($17.8 thousand) fine. The other 18 members of the criminal group have received sentences from 7 to 25 years of imprisonment and from 500 thousand ($7.4 thousand) to 1 million rubles ($14.8 thousand) fines. 

The criminal group’s members have been found guilty of creation a criminal community and participation thereby (article 210 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), creation of a stable armed group with the aim of assaulting individuals or organisations, and also operation of such a group (article 209 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), murders and murder attempts committed out of mercenary motives by hire, or attended by robbery with violence, racketeering, or banditry (article 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), swindling committed by a group of persons by previous concert (article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), illegal acquisition, transfer, sale, storage, transportation, or bearing of firearms (article 222 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), and arbitrariness (article 330 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). 

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The case had been considered for more than 4 years. 29 persons were the defendants in the case. The case files built 340 volumes. The verdicts of guilty are already brought in 5 of the gang’s members who cooperated with the investigation. 5 of the gang’s members including one of its leaders Oleg If are put on the international wanted list. 

The court found that the criminal group was founded in early 1990s in the city of Vorkuta. The gang comprised former law-enforcement officers, professional athletes, former military representatives and other citizens of the city. Initially, the gang dealt with extortion from entrepreneurs. By the early 2000s, there was an hierarchy and a tight rein predicated on the principle of the group’s interests prevailing those of an individual, as well as securing of team spirit and steadiness, the code of silence, and non-allowability of concealment of the received income. 

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The gang’s arms dumps were located in Vorkuta and Syktyvkar. After the gang’s members were detained, 11 Kalashnikov guns, more than 50 handguns, 6 rifles and carbines, shotguns, 2 homemade explosive devices, 4 grenade launcher systems, several thousands of ammunition of various calibres, bombshells, and antipersonnel mines were seized. One of the arms dumps was reported to have been mined. 

The gang has committed not less than 11 murders including those with the use of explosive devices. The criminal group’s members used to kill the rival gangs’ members, as well as their own gangmates who, in the leaders’ opinion, deserved punishment for their misdemeanour. In 1999, the gang’s members killed an entrepreneur Anatoly Kharuk and caused debilitating injury to his guard during the football game. In 2002, the gang’s major competitor Aleksander Agajanyan and the latter’s gang’s active member Vadim Shishov were killed. Agajanyan and Shishov died following the explosion of the car filled with antipersonnel mines while passing by this car on their way to a recreation complex. 

In 2004, the organized criminal group’s members killed Ilfat, a brother of Azat Shagivaliev, a leader of a criminal group Shagivalievskie. The leaders of the If-Kozlov gang believed that Shagivaliev - along with his associate Vladimir Aleksandrov - had killed Vladimir If and his spouse in March, 1997. Ilfat Shagivaliev had been held hostage, because the bandits thought they could influence the leader of the Shagivalievskie crime group this way. As soon as they realized the plan worked out badly, they strangled him with a rope in a garage of a cafe in Vorkuta. His dead body was taken to the road leading to Komsomolskaya mine.

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The bandits slaughtered Aleksandrov in the same garage in April, 2005. There was an attempt to kill the Shagivalievskie’s leaders in April, 2004, as well. However, then, they managed to survive despite the fact that the car was exploded. 

Other crimes were committed in the gang’s headquaters - on the sixth floor of the consumer services centre in Vorkuta. 

The gang lived from extortion racket and arms sales. Moreover, millions of rubles came to the gang’s treasury thanks to swindling related to shares and resale of property seized by the court bailiffs service and purchased at lower prices. The money were laundered through commercial organizations, entertainment establishments, pharmacies, hotels, and other institutions. 

The investigation of the case had been carried out under operational escorting of the Federal Security Service Directorate in the Republic of Komi. The court also arrested the financial resources and property of the defendants in the case worth of more than 200 million rubles ($2.9 million). 

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