Khamovnichesky Moscow court has sentenced one of the most powerful crime bosses of the post-Soviet space - Tariel Oniani (Muluhov). The thief in law was found guilty of kidnapping and extortion and sentenced to ten years in a penal colony. The partners of Mr. Oniani - a former bodyguard and a business partner — have been sentenced to six and nine years accordingly. MIA of RF (Interior Ministry) called the verdict for Mr. Oniani a serious blow to Russian organized crime. Interestingly, after serving his sentence in Russia the thief in the law may be issued to the Spanish authorities, who suspect him of money laundering and organizing a criminal group.
Yesterday's announcement of the sentence to Tariel Oniani, his guard, Officer of ChOP «Phoenix-Garant" - Alexei Zubarev and Director General of OOO «Russtroyservis» - Sergei Abutidze took the Hamovnichesky court of Moscow almost two hours. All three of them were found guilty in the fact that on March 18, 2009 at Smolenskaya Square in Moscow, together with other persons (the case for the latter is being handled separately as they are on the wanted list) kidnapped businessman Johnny Managadze, which had previously refused to accept the criminal protection by the kingpin.
As it was found in the course of judicial investigation, after the kidnapping the victim was taken to the cafe "Ryabina" on Ryabinovaya street, where the businessman was severely beaten with a baseball bat under the order of Mr. Oniani. the thief in law and his associates demanded $ 500 thousandfrom the businessman's relatives for the release of Mr. Managadze. 21 March 2009, having received some redemption - $ 218 thousand - blackmailers released Johnny Managadze, by throwing him at night on a roadside near the Kutuzovsky Prospect. But the very next day the former prisoner was recalled of a debt, and threatened to kidnap a 12 year old daughter of the businessman in case he did not pay off all the amount designated. After that, the wife of Mr. Managadze appealed to the police, and Mr. Oniani was arrested.
Despite the fact that earlier in the debate the state prosecutor Anton Karetnikov asked the court to sentence Tariel Oniani to 15 years of imprisonment (the maximum possible sentence for kidnapping), judge sentenced the thief in the law to ten years in a penal colony. Sergei Abutidze and Alexei Zubarev were sentenced to nine and six years accordingly in a penal colony. In addition, prisoners will have to pay the victim 7,000,000 rubles to compensate the material damage.
Once the judge had read the verdict, a complete silence reigned in the courtroom for a few seconds, which was interrupted by loud applause of Tariel Oniani and his sarcastic cry: "Long live our Soviet court!" When journalists asked him whether he would appeal the verdict, the thief in the law burst into invective. Attorney of Oniani, Nikolay Mdinaradze showed understanding of the emotional behavior of his client. "All that is understandable. Of course, we will appeal the sentence as illegal and unjustified," Mr. Mdinaradze explained. The crime partners of the kingpin did not agree with the verdict neither. Their lawyers vowed to appeal the verdict of the Hamovnichesky court in the Moscow City Court in the coming days.
In turn, the lawyer Vasily Temples, representing the interests of Johnny Managadze, expressed complete satisfaction with decision of the court. He noted that the court made its decision after having "sorted out the case thoroughly." "All the arguments of the defense of innocence of the defendants to commit the crime have been reviewed and considered untenable, and the testimony of the defendants was considered illogical and perceived as an attempt to provide an alibi," he said. Johnny Managadze refused to comment to the verdict yesterday. He only regretted the harsh sentence to the guard of Tariel Oniani, Alexei Zubarev: according to Mr. Managadze, the guard of the kingpin occurred to be a victim of circumstances, and in addition, he helped the investigation greatly by giving self-incriminating testimony in the preliminary investigation. However, in the court the guard suddenly retracted his confession, and therefore has got a real, rather than a suspended sentence. Mr. Managadze assures that the guard was forced to abandon his testimony under the pressure of the criminal world.
Yesterday the Interior Ministry expressed satisfaction with the court verdict about Tariel Oniani's guilt. According to a senior officer of the Ministry, which specializes in combating organized crime, "the fact of prolonged isolation of Tariel Oniani will significantly reduce the tension of crime in Russia."
It is possible, that the isolation of Mr. Oniani from society will last long time. It is known that Spain requires extradition of the kingpin, the authorities announced Mr. Oniani in the international wanted list due to the charges of money laundering by investing in real estate Spanish resorts of Marbella, Fuengirola, Benalmadena and Torremolinos, and organizing a criminal group. Considering the fact that the trial in the Khamovnichesky court found out that Mr. Oniani is not a citizen of Russia, there are no obstacles to his extradition to Spain after serving his sentence in Russia. However, the lawyer of the kingpin Nikolay Mdinaradze considers the idea of extradition premature. "I have only heard of the extradition from journalists, I have not seen any real documents about it," he explained. In turn, the Prosecutor General of Russia confirmed to Kommersant yesterday that in fact there had been a request for extradition of the crime boss from Spain.
Source: Kommersant № 129 (4429) on 20/07/2010