Judges looking for Shakro Molodoy's missing case about raider seizure of 2 casinos 

Judges looking for Shakro Molodoy's missing case about raider seizure of 2 casinos
Zakhary Kalashov

The materials of the investigation about the theft of two capital casinos Crystal and Golden Palace by the thief in law Zakhary Kalashov and unidentified law enforcers mysteriously disappeared 3 years ago.

Hearings about the fate of the materials of investigation that had disappeared in 2015 about the capture of the two largest Moscow casinos Crystal and Golden Palace by Zakhary Kalashov (Shakro Molodoy), the gangland businessmen Leon Lann and Konstantin Manukyan, and also “unidentified law enforcement officers,” have been launched in the Tagansky District Court of Moscow.

As reported by Rosbalt, the lawyer of the victim co-owner of Crystal and Golden Palace Karen Azizbekyan, Karen Nersisyan, lodged a complaint about the inaction of the investigation. The prosecutor's office supported the complaint.

According to the source of Rosbalt in law enforcement agencies, the Main Investigative Department of the ICR in Moscow three years ago was to initiate on these materials a criminal case under articles 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Embezzlement on an especially large scale) and 210 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Creation of a criminal community), but documents simply disappeared.

The materials disappeared at the present time after the Deputy Head of the Main Investigative Department of the ICR for Moscow Denis Nikandrov requested them and gave them over to initiate a case at the Investigative Department of the ICR for the Central Administrative District of Moscow, which at that time was headed by Aleksey Kramarenko involved in the criminal case of bribes from Shakro Molodoy.

Rosbalt notes that nothing has been known about the materials to capture two casinos for almost a year. When General Nikandrov was detained and subsequently arrested on charges of taking a bribe from Kalashov for the release from custody of the henchman of the crime lord Andrey Kochyukov (aka Italyanets), the prosecutor's office became interested in the fate of the disappeared documents. It became known that they were transferred from the Investigative Department of the ICR for the Central Administrative District of Moscow to the Investigative Department for the Tagansky district, which sent them to the duty department of the district MIA Directorate, where their track got completely lost.

Denis Nikandrov

Denis Nikandrov

During the court hearings it was found out that the MIA Directorate in the Tagansky district in April 2016 had transferred these documents to the Economic Crime Department of the MIA Directorate for the Central Administrative District of Moscow, however, according to Rosbalt, some of the materials were found in the same year during the search at Denis Nikandrov's.

As The CrimeRussia previously reported, a former co-owner of the once famous capital casinos Crystal and Golden Palace, ex-Defense Minister Karlen Azizbekyan headed the private security firm Magma-V, which provided security for the casino Crystal and the Golden Palace. He, along with the sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, an American Alex Crane, a lawyer Vladimir Dukhnov was the major shareholder of Crystal's parent company.

Golden Palace

Golden Palace Casino

In 2000 Azizbekyan was involved in a criminal case of fraud, which was initiated by the MIA Directorate for the Central Administrative District of Moscow on the application of US citizen Victoria Crane (Alex Krane's wife). According to her, she was the president of Optical Basics, Inc., which owned the OOO Crystal Center and OOO Crystal Palace, but the rest of the shareholders with the help of false documents, removed her from her position, having seized property worth $ 4.5 million. The investigation considered that Azizbekyan was one of the participants of redistribution of spheres of influence around the capital casinos. The case mentioned sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, high-ranking siloviki, as well as thieves in law led by Zakhary Kalashov (Shakro Molodoy), Aslan Usoyan (Ded Hasan), Vitaliy Izgilov (Beast). Only Karlen Azizbekyan remained out of the three suspects in the case, who for almost 12 years has been hiding from the investigation and former partners abroad, claiming to have been the victim of corrupt law enforcers and thieves in law.

Azizbekyan was able to return to Russia only at the end of 2011, the decision on the international search was canceled. The criminal case against the former head of the security service of the Crystal and the Golden Palace was closed on rehabilitating grounds only on December 27, 2013. In 2014, Azizbekyan filed two lawsuits against the Ministry of Finance: compensation for material damage ($174 million) and moral damage ($100 million). In the claim for compensation of moral damage Azizbekyan wrote that he was illegally declared wanted, he was forced to hide, was deprived of the opportunity to raise children and live with his family, which affected his health and mental state. However, back then the court, referring to the judicial practice, estimated the amount of moral damage of only 100 thousand rubles ($1500). In 2017, Azizbekyan again filed a complaint but reduced the amount of material damage to $10 million.

After the termination of the criminal prosecution of Azizbekyan, the investigation recognized that in 2000 Zakhary Kalashov seized control over the activities of the casinos Crystal and Golden Palace, neutralizing Azizbekyan through illegal criminal prosecution. According to the investigation, by 1999, the casinos in question officially belonged to Optical, co-owned by US citizen Alex Crane (70%), Karlen Azizbekyan (10%), Zurab Tsereteli (9.5%), Musaelyan (9.5%), and Vladimir Dukhnov (1%).

As Rosbalt reports, Crane's assistant Leon Lann at one point became close with a whole group of thieves-in-law, among whom Zakhary Kalashov was particularly prominent. Then Leon Lann in announced his claim to 70% of Optical on the interests of crime bosses, but it was denied.


Leo Lann

The refusal to voluntarily surrender the asset served as a signal to the chain of events typical of those times.

In January 2000, Dukhnov went to a business meeting, seizing the originals of shares of Crane, Tsereteli, and Musaelyan, and disappeared. The body of the lawyer was never found, however, according to investigation data, Dukhnov was killed. The prosecutor's office opened a criminal case on the fact of kidnapping and murder.

A month later, members of the Moscow Regional Directorate for Combating Organized Crime (RDCOC) rushed into the Crystal building together with Leo Lann and an unknown representative from the thieves-in-law, led by the police general, who, according to Rosbalt sources, was the deputy head of the MIA, Alexander Orlov, who is considered by some sources to have been the ‘godfather’ of corruption in the MIA during the leadership of the department of Vladimir Rushailo. And Lann was at that time wanted by the US FBI and Interpol on charges of fraud.


During the search, a pistol was found in the premises of the Crystal, after which the head of the security service of the casino Carlen Azizbekyan was taken away for interrogation to the RDCOC building where they offered to voluntarily abandon the casino. In the meantime, the policemen drove security personnel out of the Crystal, which was immediately occupied by representatives of thieves in law.

The controlling shareholding in Optical remained with Alex Crane and Azizbekyan, who did not stop fighting for the casino. In June 2000, the newspaper writes, the thief in law Zakhary Kalashov made an appointment for negotiations on the casino with Alex Crane, who was in Georgia, in Tbilisi hotel Sheraton Matakhi Palace, where Crane was kidnapped. American relatives in the United States paid the kidnappers part of demanded by the bandits $1.2 million ransom, which was transferred to the foreign bank accounts controlled by Shakro Molodoy. However, Crane was still killed.

At that time, Azizbekyan was forced to leave Russia, as he was charged in absentia with crimes under five articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, including 222 (Illegal possession of weapons) and 159 (Fraud), and the case of the kidnapping and murder of Dukhnov was closed by the Prosecutor General's Office.

In the framework of the investigation of the case renewed in relation to Azizbekyan, the employees of the Main Investigative Department of the ICR for Moscow in 2012 questioned a whole group of former employees of the RDCOC who took part in the capture of the casino by order of the leadership. They said that there were no reasons for the search of the Crystal, and the pistol was planted to the casino during the investigation.


However, the investigation failed to interrogate many participants of the incident. In particular, the head of the operation in the Crystal, Dmitry Dubinov, a high-ranking official of Moscow's RDCOC, who was named by sources in the MIA as the main partner in the ‘shadow business’ of Colonel Dmitry Zakharchenko, died under strange circumstances shortly before he was asked to interrogate. Zabednov for a long time served as the head of the 7th Division of the Operative-Investigation Bureau of the Main Economic Crime Department of the MIA, but in 2011 he failed to pass the certification.

In October 2012, the corpse of Zabednov was found in a parked on Butyrskaya Street Porsche Cayenne, and the examination determined death from a heart attack caused by the intake of potent substances.

The representatives of the ICR also could not interrogate the former head of the RDCOC, Yuri Danilov, who approved a special operation in the Crystal and died in 2010. After the resignation of General Rushailo, General Orlov fled Russia. Rosbalt reports that Orlov lived in Israel, but according to the Moscow Komsomolets, the former police general settled in Florida.

After receiving a response to a request from the Spanish authorities on Leo Lann and Kalashov, and from the Interior Ministry of Georgia an absentee judgment of 18 years sentence to Shakro Molodoy in the case of the murder of Crane, the Main Investigative Department of the ICR for Moscow came to the conclusion that in 2000, Kalashov, Lann and a number persons seized control of the activities of the casino Crystal and Golden Palace, in various ways neutralizing the co-owners of these institutions. The case against Azizbekyan was closed, and in relation to Shakro Molodoy, the case materials were allocated to a separate proceeding. However, after Denis Nikandrov joined the Main Investigative Department they disappeared.



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