Yesterday it became known that Russia is ready to extradite Tariel Oniani (Taro), one of the biggest crime bosses in the former Soviet Union, to Spain. The Spanish authorities suspect the thief in law of laundering criminal proceeds and of organizing criminal community; they have been searching for him since 2005. The Federal Migration Service of Russia established that Mr. Oniani was not a citizen of Russia, and therefore there were no legal obstacles to his extradition to Spain. The subjects of negotiations between Russia and Spain are only the timing and order of extradition, as the Russian justice system has brought claims against Mr. Oniani as well.
FMS of Russia under the order of Prosecutor General's Office completed checks of Tariel Oniani’s Russian citizenship (he also uses the documents by the name of a Georgian citizen David Muluhov) – a representative of the so-called Kutaisi thieves clan; received a first conviction at the age of 17 for robbery and theft, and has visited colonies eight times. The order was given in connection with requests to the Prosecutor General made by the authorities of Spain - to extradite the criminal authority to that country. The Spanish authorities put Tariel Oniani on an international wanted list under the charges of laundering criminal proceeds by investing them in property and organizing a criminal community. Spanish police believes Mr. Oniani is one of the leaders of the so-called "Russian mafia". Evidence of criminal activity of Mr. Oniani contained in the extradition request had been obtained in June 2005 during a police operation "Wasp". Then more than 400 police officers with armored vehicles and helicopters raided in Barcelona, Alicante, as well as at resorts of Marbella, Fuengirola, Benalmadena and Torremolinos; they arrested about 30 Spanish citizens, as well as those from Georgia, Russia and Ukraine. During the operation Mr. Oniani was outside of Spain and escaped the arrest. But Spanish police arrested his 12-year-old daughter Gvantsa and placed her in the so-called private house for minors (in fact, a prison for teenagers). The girl was released only after the personal intercession of President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili, but the claim against her father by the Spanish authorities has remained.
As “Kommersant” source in the FMS reported yesterday, the audit found that Mr. Oniani had never been a citizen of Russia.
After the conclusion of the FMS that Mr. Oniani has no Russia citizenship, all legal obstacles to his extradition to Spain get removed formally. Law enforcement agencies of Spain and Russia should agree only on the order and timing of the criminal boss extradition. In fact, Russia charged Tariel Oniani on the kidnapping of businessman Johni Managadze and extorting from him $ 500 thousand. In June 2009, as reported by “Kommersant”, the thief in law was arrested under this case by order of the Ostankino court in Moscow; and since then he has been located in the detention center. The investigation of this criminal case comes to an end, and soon it will be transferred to court.
Most likely, the issue of Mr. Oniani’s extradition will be resolved according to the scheme already employed in the recent extradition Sergei Butorina (Osia), leader of Orekhovo gang - from Spain to Russia. Initially, Mr. Oniani will go on trial in the Russian court, and after the verdict he will be handed over for investigation (the so-called temporary extradition) to the Spanish authorities. That will be the first extradition from Russia to Spain, which in its turn actively extradites the suspects to Russia and has been requiring of extraditions in response (see reference).
As for the criminal authority, the transportation to Spain would play into his hands. In fact, he is suspected of organizing the last-year murder of Vyacheslav Ivankov (Jap) in the thief world. And although there has been no charge brought for him, the criminal world has already delivered its verdict to Taro - FSIN officials have repeatedly interfered with the so-called messages in which "the authorities" encouraged inmates to revenge for Jap. On this reason, even in jail Mr. Oniani is contained in a special block - separately from other inmates.