вторник, 30 августа 2011 г.

RusAl tries to move Friguia case to ICC arbitration


Guinea’s new government has returned to the old dispute with RusAl over the Friguia bauxite and alumina complex. Guinea may file a $1b lawsuit against RusAl. The government claims that it was the sum that the state lost as the result of RusAl's illegitimate acquisition of the refinery.

A RusAl-operated plant at Friguia produces 2.1m tones of bauxite per year, which makes up for 15.3% of net production of RusAl in 2010. RusAl acquired the plant for $19m. After Capt Moussa Camara took power in Guinea in September 2009, a Guinean court ruled that the 2006 deal had been illegitimate, because the then-government had sold the refinery to RusAl at the price much lower than its valued cost ($257m). Camara’s administration made a probe into the RusAl operations. The company faced $860m sanctions for tax evasion and non-payment of royalties. Later, the sum was rounded up at $1b. In December 2009 Capt Camara suffered the attempt on his life and fled the country. In March 2010 the Guinean appellation court overturned the ruling of the lower court about illegitimacy of Friguia's acquisition.    

In November 2010 the government in West Africa’s Guinea again changed: Alpha Conde, leader of the Rally of the Guinean People party, took power. In April 2011 the new government decided to reconsider the mining deals. Rio Tinto, one of the world's largest mining companies, which is engaged in Simandou iron-ore project, agreed to repay $700m with the possibility of returning 35% of shares to the country (including 15% for free).

But RusAl has already taken preventative measures. In July 2011 Friguia asked Paris-based International Court of Arbitration to consider the dispute between the owner of the company and the government. As in 2009, Friguia again wants to transfer the arbitration to the international court. In an international court, RusAl can find protection against the decisions of local courts and possible ban on export of alumina.


Yasinov Jr. is suspected of attempt on the life of high-profile businessman


Police has detained Parviz Yasinov, Tajik-born Russian construction tycoon Obid Yasinov’s son. Mr Yasinov Sr. is actual owner of Moscow-based building company called Mosstroymechanizatsiya or MSM-5. His son Parviz, ex-husband of pop singer Yulya Volkova (Tatu), is suspected of organizing the attack on business owner Kirill Meshcheryakov and his wife Natalya Barshchevskaya, daughter of Mikhail Barshchevsky - the attorney who represents Russian government in the higher courts. 

Unlike Parviz who always appears on the celebrity news, Obid is the character from another realm. Yasinov Sr., director general of MSM-5, has been involved in the number of criminal cases.

Some reports made in May 2011 said that Yasinov Sr. was implicated in the failed assasination attempt on the life of Petr Ivanov - director general of FCSR development company. FCSR's representatives claim that their competitors from MSM-5 had hired a hitman. «It was people from MSM-5 who shot. We have conflict over objects in Fili-Davydkovo [neighbourhood in Moscow]. They wanted to penetrate in the construction site. Unfortunately I can not tell you any details», said Nina Sevastyanova, an official of FCSR. 

According to the reports, the crime may indeed have something to do with the conflict between FCSR and MSM-5. Obid Yasinov's MSM-5 coaxed Petr Ivanov's FCSR into ceding the Kutuzovskaya Milya development project (housing area). On 5 May 2011 FCSR refused to cede the contract. On 23 May Kirill Meshcheryakov threatened Ivanov, inducing him to cede the residential complex to the competitor. On 24 May Ivanov survived tha attempt on his life.     

On 6 July, unknown assailants attacked the car of Kirill Meshcheryakov and his wife Natalya Barshevskaya. The incident took place at the junction of Sadovo-Kudrinskaya Street and Barrikadnaya Street. The assailants, shooting from the traumatic pistol, attacked the car and after that disappeared. The police thought that the shooting had took place in the result of the conflict between drivers. But Meshcheryakov and Barshchevskaya believe the assault had been planned and was linked to Kirill Meshcheryakov's busimess affairs.

On 26 August Moscow's Tverskoy Court ruled to arrest Yasinov Jr. Within a few days the investigators is expected to bring in the indictment against Parviz Yasinov.


суббота, 27 августа 2011 г.

RusAl may have a new partner


Viktor Vekselberg and Leonid Blavatnik, partners in the world largest aluminum producer UC RusAl, are looking forward to selling their 15.8% stake in the company. Vekselberg and Blavatnik’s Sual Partners company shares RusAl with Oleg Deripaska’s En+, Mikhail Prokhorov’s Onexim and Amokenga Holdings, Glencore’s subsidiary. They are quoted by Russian newspapers to disagree with Deripaska’s vision of the future of RusAl

Alisher Usmanov, Russian billionaire, is expected by the Russian Mafia (rumafia.com) to buy the shares. Vekselberg and Blavatnik have made an offer to Usmanov, estimating the value of their stake at $3.95-4.75b. In Hong Kong trading, the same stake has much lower cost – just $2.4b. According to the agreements, a partner wishing to sell its stake in RusAl should first make offer to En+.

With a debt of $16.8b RusAl has stopped paying dividends since the second half of 2008 as a part of the plan to restructure the indebtedness. The company has already had the possibility to pay off the debt: Norilsk Nickel made a buyout offer to RusAl. The buyback of 20% was valued at $12.8b. Sual Partners and Onexim supported the offer, whereas En+ and Glencore turned it down.

In September RusAl plans to refinance the debt (as of 31 March the net indebtedness was $11.3b). After that the company will continue to pay dividends. However, En+ wants to lower the minimal payment from 50% of net profit (calculated according to IFRS), which was its usual practice, to 30%. These plans are opposed by Sual Partners.


The judge forbids to use earlier Bout’s statements at the trial


The statements, made by Viktor Bout, a former Soviet AF officer accused by the US of selling arms to Columbian terrorists, in a Thai jail, will be suppressed at his trial, US District judge Shira A. Scheindlin rules in Manhattan. The judge concluded that the US authorities had threatened Bout, thus inducing him to make involuntary statements.

Earlier the Russian Mafia reported about the Bout’s case. The defense team won the pretrial bid to bar Bout’s comments to Drug Enforcement Administration officers immediately after his arrest in Thailand. The lawyers claimed that he had requested to speak with the US representatives next day after the arrest, because he had not been in a good frame of mind and needed to speak with a lawyer first. However, the agents deceived him saying it was impossible and threatening he would be a subject to “disease, hunger, heat and rape” in case he failed to cooperate.    

Bout has pleaded not-guilty. He has denied trading arms and said he specialized in legitimate selling of aircrafts.

The prosecutors plan to request reconsideration of the decision.

The trial will be heard on 7 September.


Loyal man for St Petersburg


The analysts have met President Dmitry Medvedev’s decision to name Georgy Poltavchenko, 58, as the acting governor of St Petersburg, second largest city in Russia, with a surprise.

Georgy Poltavchenko was a presidential envoy in the Central Federal District since in 2000 then-president Vladimir Putin divided Russia into seven federal districts in order to unify the laws of the country’s far-flung regions. He was the only envoy to maintain his position since 2000.   

Poltavchenko’s lengthy career as a top bureaucrat has been helped by his absolute loyalty to the Kremlin, according to the Russian Mafia. He was quoted as saying that “the envoy can not be independent politician”, because he is “just an instrument in the hands of the president”. 

Regional experts characterize him as an “efficient manager with business grip” and devout observant of the Orthodox faith. He has never had conflicts with local elites and proved his ability to supervise the political process. Poltavchenko's loyalty is very important in the  view of forthcoming elections, both to the State Duma and city legislature, the analysts say. He is an ideal figure for the period of election campaign capable to negotiate with all forces, including opposition. 


Russian business goes to Rotterdam


Summa Group owned by Ziyavudin Magomedov has applied to participate in the tender for the construction of an oil terminal in Rotterdam port. Applications are accepted only from candidates able to provide load for the terminal. Contenders must also be experienced in the design and operation of terminals with a minimum capacity of 500 000 cubic meters of crude oil or petroleum products. Another requirement is financial stability of the applicant.

Summa meets all these requirements and makes a good candidate. Ziyavudin Magomedov has partnered with Transneft, with which he controls the sea port of Novorossiysk. The company is also experienced in the construction of oil terminals. In 2001 Summa launched one of the largest Russian oil ports, Primorsky. Today it is the second busiest port in the country with cargo turnover of 78 million tons per year.

If Summa receives the tender, it will be able to control one of Europe's largest oil terminals. However, the oil market experts believe that Summa is unlikely to win because it is clear for Rotterdam, whose interests the company pursues. According to The Russian Mafia (rumafia.com), this project has political support from the Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin. 


Ambassador Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary of the Russian mob, Mr Little Taiwanese


President Barack Obama has recently issued an executive order to target 4 most dangerous international organised crime groups. Sanctions are imposed against yakuzas from Japan, members of Italian camorra, Mexican los zetas, and the Brothers’ Circle of Eastern Europe. According to American intelligence, Alimzhan Tokhtakounov (alias Taiwanchik, that means Little Taiwanese in Russian) is an active member of the circle.

On the FBI most wanted list the criminal is ranked seventh. Russian investigators and representatives of the criminal world smile at such fear of Taiwanchik. He has never been considered an influential gangster. There are some Mafia members with extensive connections. If published, phone book of Tokhtakhounov might occupy several volumes. It would contain the names of hundreds of gangsters, officials, sports officials, businessmen, tycoons, famous artists, etc. Often these people seek meetings with each other. Such meetings help solve urgent problems, agree on joint projects that bring profits of up to tens or even hundreds millions dollars. And Taiwanchik organizes such meetings, keeping his own interests in mind, of course.

A footballer and a sharpie

Alimzhan Tursunovich Tokhtakhounov was born on January 1, 1949 in a family of doctors from Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. Already at school Tokhtakhounov began to develop useful connections and add contacts to his phone book. His younger brother was a classmate of Mikhail Cherny, future steel tycoon and crime boss. Alimzhan quickly became friends with Mikhail. It was Cherny who nicknamed Tokhtakhounov Taiwanchik for an eye shape that was very unusual for an Uzbek. In Uzbekistan at that time there was a cult of FC Pakhtakor. Alimzhan’s parents decided that their son should play football. Future head of the National Sports Foundation and coach of Russian tennis team Shamil Tarpishchev played tennis at the nearby tennis court. He also became a friend of Alimzhan. It was these two men who subsequently played a significant role in Tokhtakhounov’s life.

Alimzhan played football well and was in the youth team of Pakhtakor FC. It was at that time that he developed liking to playing cards. Footballers often went to matches in different parts of the country. On the road, which sometimes could be very long, they played cards. For most of them it remained a hobby, and the main job was football. But for Tokhtakhounov it was vice versa.

Life is just a game. Permanent Player of FC Pakhtakor Tashkent

When he was 18 years old and it was time for him to do his service in the army, Tokhtakhounov, as most of the promising young athletes, made in CSKA (the army’s football club based in Moscow) and played for the Moscow football club. Thus, Alimzhan came to the capital. He was put on the second team, where he firmly took place on the bench. Which was not surprising. Taiwanchik grew more and more fond of cards, and the range of his playing partners gradually outreached his teammates. During card games he began to make new connections and his first big money. Sociable, cheerful young man, who also played for such a famous club as CSKA, quickly became a welcome guest in many companies and a frequent guest at expensive restaurants.

CSKA realized that Tokhtakhounov could not be a footballer, but he was appreciated for other features. He quickly adapted to Moscow and met people of different professions thus becoming an indispensable person. He could get something needed or solve a domestic problem. As a result, Tokhtakhounov was appointed assistant administrator of CSKA. In this status Taiwanchik made friends with a young fighter Otari Kvantrishvili, who later became one of the leaders Moscow criminal world. By the early 1970s Tokhtakhounov spent more and more time playing cards and paid less attention to his duties in the football club. He was fired from CSKA Moscow and he got a chance to engage in his favourite work completely.

According to the Moscow police, in the capital Tayvanik preferred to play in hotels National and Sovietskaya, as well as in the central market Continental. He also went to Jurmala, Sochi, Mineralnye Vody to play in games with large stakes. Each time the stakes grew higher. So, once Tokhtakhounov managed to scoop of 10 thousand roubles, an unbelievable sum for the Soviet era.

System number: 3402995

Name: Tokhtakhounov, Alimzhan Tursunovich

Date of Birth: 01.01.1949 - 1949

Record: organized crime

Nickname: Taiwanchik

Information: travels to Jurmala, Latvia




Nationality: Uzbek

Year of birth: 1949

Date of birth: 01.01.1949


Last location: Uzbekistan, Tashkent

Criminal don: Yes, he is

Home telephone number: None

Work telephone number: None

Mobile Phone: None

Possible address: MAYLIVE AT

CHELANZAR, Uzbekistan, 12 BLOCK, 62, 41

Closest connections: VASIN Yevgeny Petrovich; Vishnevetsky Vladimir Aleksandrovich; Ivankov Vyacheslav Kirillovich.

In the USSR professional gamblers (cardsharps, or in Russian - kataly, people who cheated at card games in long-distance trains) were always closely linked with the thieves in law. Taiwanchik was no exception. He became close friends with many criminal bosses, especially with Vyacheslav Ivankov (Yaponchik), Vyacheslav Sliva (Sliva), Yevgeny Vasin (Dzhem), Aleksey Petrov (Petrick), and Viktor Nikiforov (Kalina, son of Yaponchik; he was killed in 1992). Tokhtakhounov was friends with such other cardsharps and criminal dons fond of cards as Mark Milgotinym (Marik) and one of the best card players, Roman Bernstein (Kuryatnik).

Rumafia correspondents witnessed friends of Taiwanchik to spend their leisure time in the late 1990s. At that time agencies combating organized crime took journalists on their operations and journalists were able to observe with the operatives what kind of life gangsters had, and sometimes how they were arrested. On October 7, 1999 in Intourist hotel Marik, Kuryatnik and Sliva had a meeting. They gathered there almost every night. They spent time playing cards, taking cocktails of drugs, and having sex with prostitutes. That time the friends first went to the card table in a casino. As usual Bernstein was the luckiest. He won 18 thousand dollars. After that the trio went to the suite. There Kuryatnik, Milgotin, and Sliva carefully laid their specialties (heroin, cocaine, hashish) out on the table. To take drugs they made a hookah from a plastic bottle of mineral water. And then investigators broke into the room. All mobsters were seriously ill people: Sliva had cancer and soon died, Bernstein recently had had a heart surgery and had a heart pacemaker, and Marik due to excessive drug use had developed a lot of diseases.

In the 1990s catching gangsters red handed did not necessarily mean that they would be incarcerated. So in this case, Alekseyevsky police station of Alekseevsky district did not bring charges against the thief in law and his two friends. They were released. Ten days later, Rumafia reporters and operatives were watching Kuryatnik again. This time near Brighton hotel. Once Bernstein fell in love with one of the prostitutes he and his friends hired. The cardsharp locked his Juliet in a room of a not very good hotel. There he would take a cocktail of cocaine, heroin, and hashish, had sex with the prostitute and from time to time beat his hostage. Her mother, worried about her daughter’s whereabouts, called the police. Kuryatnik was arrested, but again he was quickly released.

Marik was put behind bars at the beginning of 2000, but that time for long. On January 19, he arrived to sort things out with Vyacheslav Nikifirov, former deputy minister, and opened fire at the ceiling.

In 2003 Bernstein was gunned down in Moscow, when he was returning playing in a casino.

Soviet show business protected by Taiwanchik

But back to the main character. Gradually Taiwanchik’s focus of interest reached beyond playing cards. He began to collect antiques and rare items to ship overseas. Tokhtakhounov mainly shipped his goods to West Germany, to Yefim Laskin (Fima), an influential criminal boss who had settled there. Antiques also went to France to Arkady Gaydamak. Taiwanchik engaged in prohibited transactions with currency and was involved in various frauds. And, of course, he introduced gangsters, underground entrepreneurs, athletes, and actors to each other. Among the latter Tokhtakhounov was quite a prominent person.

In the 1970s Taiwanchik, who was still very young but extremely rich, often went from Moscow to Uzbekistan where he had been born. There he held sumptuous feasts and spent money with both hands, which attracted attention of local law enforcers. In 1972 in Tashkent Tokhtakhounov went to a concert of Sofia Rotaru whose career just started then. The cardsharp was so impressed with her talent that he immediately rented the entire ballroom of Tashkent hotel and invited Rotaru and her band there. That was a private concert. Local authorities quickly found out about the event. Uzbekistan sent a request to Moscow, where Tokhtakhounov spent most of the time, asking to probe into the wealthy man. Almost immediately Taiwanchik was arrested and sentenced for violating the passport regime. However, thanks to his friends, many of whom were influential, Tokhtakhounov was quickly released.

Later, he paid more attention to the Soviet show business. Taiwanchik began to help Rotaru, both giving money and organizing concerts, which in Soviet times was not easy. He could often be seen behind the scenes and at special events for artists. Tokhtakhounov became close friends with singer Iosif Kobzon, who has always gravitated to the representatives of the criminal world. Taiwanchik made friends with Otari Kvantrishvili and Kalina, and knew many other thieves in law. In the early 1980s Kobzon introduced Taiwanchik to Alla Pugacheva who already was a superstar. As a result, Tokhtakhounov for good became a man of show business.

Apart from the above listed artists, who became friends with Alimzhan, among his friends there also were Leo Leshchenko, Vladimir Vinokur, Yuri Antonov, and Yuri Nikolaev, the host of Utrennyaya Pochta show. Taiwanchik married a girl who was also in show business. She was assistant secretary to composer David Tukhmanov. For singers Tokhtakhounov was both a rich friend and an administrator, who organized concerts that brought big money. In 1985 such activities of his bore fruit.

1999. Prince of Wales hotel in Paris. Alimzhan Tokhtakhunov has been conferred the knighthood of Sovereign Imperial Order of Saint Constantine the Great. Fashion designer Vyacheslav Zaytsev, Russian Knight Commander of the Order Sergey Vlasov, popular singer Iosif Kobzon, business owners Mikhail Chernoy and Anzori Aksentiev, figure skater Marina Anissina, ice hockey player Pavel Bure, vice-president of the Olympic Committee of Russia Aleksandr Kozlovsky are all present at the ceremony

That year the nouveau riche Tokhtakhounov again was in the way of the authorities. He was arrested in Sochi and was convicted for parasitism. It was his last conviction. His famous friends stood up for him immediately. Kobzon and Antonov organized a concert for Krasnodar region police top officials, after which they put in a word for Tokhtakhounov. However, this did not help. It turned out that the decision concerning the arrest of Taiwanchik came from Moscow. Then, Sofia Rotaru, already in the status of the first magnitude star, went directly to interior minister Vitaly Fedorchuk, whom she knew personally. After her visit Alimzhan was released and he returned to Moscow.

Soon perestroika began in the Soviet Union, resulting in the emergence of business. Tokhtakhounov headed a cooperative Tau. With the advent of commerce, different gangs began to spring. Taiwanchik also found a common language with the leaders of such groups who then were ordinary bandits. Everybody wants to be friends with a man with a lot of connections. In particular, he has established good relations with leaders of Izmailovskaya, Orekhovskaya and Lyuberetskaya gangs Anton Malevsky, Sergey Timofeyev, and Sergey Aksenov nicknamed Aksen. And also with Sergey Mikhailov nicknamed Mikhas, leader of the Solntsevskaya gang.

Murders in the capital at that time were almost daily routine as gangsters bitterly fought for spheres of influence. It was very easy to get killed if you got involved in an unthreatening quarrel at first glance. Accustomed to the quiet life, Taiwanchik, who never killed anyone, in 1989 chose to go to Germany. Especially because it was the place where he saw endless opportunities for his business.

Weapons, drugs, letters of advice, vodka

In 1989 the Western Group of Forces (WGF) was still in Germany. It did not obey the local authorities, the police could neither enter into its territory, nor to inspect the goods of WGF. Due to internal political chaos the USSR also lost control of this army group. As a result, the Western Group was of interest to all more or less well-known opportunists of the time, including Taiwanchik, Semion Mogilevich, Dmitry Yakubowski, Arcady Gaydamak and etc. Budget allocated huge sums to supply the group. As police found out later, huge sums of money were spent on buying food and cigarettes, which were then smuggled to Moscow.

In Moscow the goods were sold through Iosif Kobzon, Otari Kvantrishvili, and Arsenty Kikalishvili, who later established 21st Century Association. Abroad all the necessary work was done by Boris Nayfeld, Riccardo Fancini, and Rashmiel Brandwein, who founded M & S International for the purpose. In Moscow Otari Kvantrishvili opened its office, M & S Intercenter. Later, M & S took up drug trafficking using the Western Group. Heroin from Afghanistan and Tajikistan was delivered by military transport planes to the territory of the Western Group in Germany, from where it was spread across Europe. Interplacement was established in Paris to launder money earned through M & S. Taiwanchik was directly involved in its emergence. Tokhtakhounov brought together all people interested in such business, namely corrupt generals and officials, businessmen, opportunists, and gangsters.

WGF at that time became one of the largest structures for illegal arms sales. Clients bought MiG planes for several million dollars apiece, APCs for 200-300 thousand dollars, Kalashnikov rifles for 200 dollars and other items. Tokhtakhounov was also involved. Thanks to his efforts, Arcady Gaydamak made quite a fortune in the arms business. Naturally, Taiwanchik also received his fare share. To legalize proceeds from arms deals Gaydamak and Tokhtakhounov founded ICC in the Virgin Islands.

In the early 1990s theft of public money through fake bank letters of advice was an extremely common method of stealing in Russia. Hundreds of millions of dollars were stolen, and again not without Taiwanchik. It was he who introduced con men stealing money to people in the West, who helped launder the money and invest in real estate. In particular, Tokhtakhounov attracted businessman Sergei Gorshkov, who lived in Paris, to this business. He quickly became one of the best specialists in the legalization of letter of advice money and in this capacity he met with many politicians. According to materials of the Interior Ministry Investigative Committee, at one time Gorshkov sponsored novice politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

Laundering of funds earned on letters of advice was also done through Trading Unlimited, Inc. established in Antwerp. When the flow of stolen bank funds dried up, the firm was renamed into Kremlin Groups Trading Unlimited. Ricardo Fancini became its president. Brandwein and Nayfeld were tacit partners. In 1992 Kremlin Group emerged, when friends of Taiwanchik Shamil Tarpishchev and Otari Kvantrishvili (shot by a sniper in 1994) created the Russian National Sports Foundation (NSF). President Boris Yeltsin was very fond of tennis, and Tarpishchev was his personal trainer. As a result, he succeeded in urging the head of state to give the NSF unprecedented customs and tax benefits.

With old buddy Shamil Tarpishev

Taiwanchik quickly introduced Fancini and Co. to Tarpishchev and Co., resulting in the emergence of the most massive and lucrative project of officials, sports personalities, and the Mafia. Kremlin Group imported huge quantities of liquor, including vodka Kremlevskaya, and food products for NSF without paying customs duties. In Russia the product was sold without paying taxes, thus bringing huge profits to the creators of the business. Among those who sold Kremlin Groups products in the Russian Federation there were businesses of Sergey Lisovsky, current member of the Council of Federation. His Premier SV agency actively advertised Kremlin Group products on TV. Taiwanchik became friends with Lisovsky and they keep in touch to this day.

Another project involving Tokhtakhounov was no less ambitious. He introduced his childhood friend Mikhail Cherny to Anton Malevsky, leader of the Izmailovskaya gang. Such merging of business and crime led to Cherny and Malevsky after numerous murders seizing most of the Russian aluminum industry.

In 1991 Yefim Laskin had a conflict with Vyacheslav Ivankov. As a result, the closest associate Yaponchik, kingpin Aleksandr Bor, stabbed Fima. Yaponchik instructed Taiwanchik to represent his interests in Germany. However, Tokhtakhounov was short-lived as Yaponchik’s supervisor for Germany. In late 1992 local authorities were fed up with a large number of Russian criminals, and they began to make them leave the country. Taiwanchik was also expelled from Germany. He tried to settle in Israel and even became a citizen of this country (it is not clear how Alimzhan proved having Jewish roots). But Tokhtakhounov quickly got bored in the Promised Land and he went on to live in France. There he immediately drew attention of local security forces.

Saddam Hussein’s neighbour

In April 1993 Taiwanchik bought luxury apartments in the Paris elegant 16th arrondissement, the district being popular among French сelebrities, including Christian Dior and Sofia Loren. Saddam Hussein owned a flat in the same district. The prise for the dwelling was 9m euros. French police took heed of the Russian mafioso when he started to redecorate the flat. ICC and Reminvest - shadow companies used by Gaidamak to launder dirty money from arms dealing - paid for the costly redecoration works. Tokhtakounov stated that his occupation was the chairman of the board of Moscow-based City firm when filling in papers to open bank accounts. Gaidamak was the director general of the firm. French police had already suspected him of arms trafficking, money laundering and bribery. The policemen began to probe into Gaidamak’s affairs.

The officials summoned him for interrogations. Taiwanchik had to be very cautious in France. Two restaurants that he had bought nominally belonged one - to his friend, the other - to Sergey Gorshkov (by the way, Taiwanchik helped Sergey Lisovsky, another friend of his, to buy a restaurant in Paris in 1994). In 1993-1995 Alimzhan again got down to his favourite business - cardsharping. He visited nearly large gambling houses around the country. At the same time he continued bringing together people in the criminal underworld. With Taiwanchik's help kingpin Aleksey Petrov, who dwelled in France, put Moscow-based Oltes firm (successor of M & S Intercenter) under his control. After Kvantrishvili's death the company became disputed.

In his Paris home

In 1994 Taiwanchik fix a problem of Sergey Makarov, a businessman. Makarov and his partner Sergey Mazhaev were brokers for French agricultural trade company called Sucden. They helped Sucden to win lucrative contract for food supplies with the government of Russia. As it happens, the conflict arose over $1.5m profit from the deal. Mazhaev was close to Petr Aven, minister of foreign economic ties, and lobbied for the Sucden contract. His role was crucial, Mazhaev claimed, that is why he had to get larger share in the profit. Makarov did not agree and contacted Tokhtakounov. Taiwanchik introduced him to Vyacheslav Ivankov, or Yaponchik.

Threats did not have effect on Mazhaev. On 22 November 1994 two hitmen entered Mazhaev's house in Paris. They came upstairs and rang the bell of his flat. The bulletproof door did not help - the perpetrators pressed the machine gun to the door and fired until the magazine was emptied. The bullets, launched at the same spot, went through the door and reached the goal. French police interrogated Taiwanchik as part of the criminal investigation into Mazhaev's murder. No evidence of his involvement in the murder was found.

Early in 1995, the FBR shared the record of Taiwanchik's telephone call in the USA with French police. Speaking nervously, he said to Sliva (Sliva and Yaponchik were at that time in the United States) that gangster Monya Elson had been arrested in Italy. Sliva, Taiwanchik and Yaponchik did many things together. Elson was famous for bargaining with police and easily betraying his partners. Tokhtakounov was afraid that Elson could testify against him.

Soon the patience of the French police was exhausted. After they received the record, the police began to mop up the country from Russian mob. First they drove out Petrov. Next was Taiwanchik. Due to the fact that there was no evidence of his involvement in the organized crime, the authorities had to find another way to make him leave France. Taiwanchik held the passport of Israel and had the right to stay in France for 3 months. After 3 months he had to leave the country and again cross the border. Tokhtakounov stayed in Paris for more than 120 days. On these grounds the authorities deported him and banned Taiwnchik from entering France. Alimzhan settled down in Monaco, but soon he was forced to leave. This time he filed a lawsuit against French authorities. The court ruled in his favour and he obtained the permission to stay in France.

Olympic gold as Alimzhan's present

Having returned to France, Taiwanchik made less noise - he met with gangsters less regularly and did all the best not to attract the attention of the police. But very soon he obtained residence permit and grew more confident. He invited artists, sportsmen and gangsters of all sorts in Paris. He gave banquets in their honour.

The scope of such banquets was impressive - even for the French. By 1999 the authorities were fed up. Taiwanchik's residence permit was cancelled and Taiwanchik moved to France. However, he hoped to come back one day. The battle for Paris began. It is no secret French officials are as corrupt as their Russian counterparts. Alimzhan decided to use this fact.

Tokhtakounov tried to fix his problems through Didier Gailhaguet, head of French Ice Sports Federation (Fédération française des sports de glace). In 1997 the federation went bankrupt and needed financial help. Taiwanchik promised Gailhaguet to sponsor the federation in exchange for the return of residence permit. At different social meeting Gailhaguet spoke about «remarkable philanthropist Mr Tokhtakounov» who deserved «being helped with the visa». People advised him that he should not accept money from Taiwanchik directly. But in case Taiwanchik helped the federation discreetly, his problem «may be solved».

According to the intelligence services, French sportsmen and representatives of hockey teams received huge donations. At social events all of them «bombarded» French officials with stories about kind and generous Tokhtakounov. Russian-born French ice dancer Marina Anissina was among these sportsmen. It was even suggested that Taiwanchik should be awarded with the Order of Legion of Honour, which would give him residence permit. Convicted in his success, Tokhtakounov decided to make another step towards obtaining residence permit. At the Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002 he developed the following plan: Russsian judges would help French pair Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat to win the golden medals in ice dancing, whereas French judges would help Russian pair Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze to win golden medals in figure skating. The plan made perfect sense, because there were a lot of French judges and judges from the former Soviet republics among the judges at the Olympics. Taiwanchik contacted his friend Tarpishev, at that time member of the International Olympic Committee. Gailhaguet was also involved in the alleged scam.

Figure Skating queen Marina Anissina

Shamil Tarpishev had problems with travelling to the Olympics in the USA: American security agencies included him in the list of people affiliated with Russian mafia. He obtained the right to enter the USA when the games were already in full swing. Taiwanchik was looking forward to the end of figure skating competitions. Russian pair Berezhnaya-Sikharulidze won, but it was unclear whether Anissina-Peizerat would win. Taiwanchik could not wait until the end of the competition. He did not risk calling Tarpishev, who had problems with American authorities. He called kingpin Sevaliye Nusuev (killed in Moscow in 2005). Nusuev was head of the Youth Sports Federation. Nusuev was close to Tarpishev and Leobid Tyagachev, president of the Olympic Committee of Russia. «Do not worry! We will make Marina the champion… Yesterday the French helped us in pair skating… Even if she falls, we will make sure she is No.1», Nusuev said. Indeed, the French pair won the golden medals in pair skating.

But Taiwanchik's dreams about coming back to Paris has never fulfilled. His telephone talk with Nusuev was bugged by the Italian police that shared the transcripts of the wiretaps with the USA. In summer 2002 federal jury in Manhattan (Southern District Court in NY) issued 5-point indictment against Alimzhan Tokhtakounov. The charges included conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bribery, wire fraud, sports bribery and a violation of the Travel Act. The USA filed a request for extradition from Italy.

Italian police arrested him at the villa in Forte dei Marmi on 1 August 2002, following the USA request. In January 2003 an appelate court of Venice ordered to extradite Taiwanchik to the USA. It was the moment when Russian authorities interfered. Taiwanchik knew to much to be extradited in the USA. Rome did not want to fall out with Moscow. Italy's highest court overturned his extradition. Italy deported Taiwanchik to Moscow.

Here in Moscow he could do whatever he wanted. He became a co-owner of Evropa casino. He set up a number of restaurants and night clubs, including popular place for metropolitan mobsters - Shokolad restaurant. He has friends among celebrities and stars - he owns Otechestvo production center. He also has passion for arts and is a co-owner of Moscow's Triumph gallery. The office of Ivan Nazarov, the alleged owner of illegal gambling business, was situated at the building of the gallery. His partner in the arts business is Emelyan Zakharov, former business partner of Boris Berezovsky.

Name: Artel LLC

State Registration no.: 1055006336648

Tax Identification no.: 5032133059/503201001

Status: Active since 27Jul2005

Registration body: Odintsovo Moscow R. Tax Insp. Unit of the Federal Tax Service

R11001 Establishment of the company

Registration body: Odintsovo Moscow R. Tax InspectorateUnit of the Federal Tax Service

State Registration no.: 1055006336648

Date of registration: 27Jul2005

Corporate Data in the Unified State Register of the Body Corporate

Registration body: Odintsovo Moscow R. Tax Insp. Unit of the Federal Tax Service

State Registration no.: 1055006336648

Date of registration: 27Jul2005

Field of activity:

- retail of non-food products

- wholesale of other goods

- trading in the real estate sector

- purchasing and selling land plots

- letting immovable property

- intermediary services in real estate market

- managing immovable property

- marketing

- market and management consultancy

Legal form of the company: Limited Liability Company (OOO)

Adress: building 4-A (former barracks), Polevaya St., Odintsovo, Moscow Region, 143000

Telephone: (8903) 5210391

Individuals acting on behalf of the company:

Aleksandr Grigorievich Sorokin, director general. RF Pass. no.: 4502 394646, issued 23Apr2002 by Khovrino police unit. Home address: 200, building 10/2, Lyapidevskogo Street, Moscow, 123098. Tel.: (8903) 5210391


Number of:1

Individual. Alimzhan Tursunovich Tokhtakhunov. Assessed contribution: 1400 rub. RF Pass. no.: 4507 000833, issued 27Dec2003 by Passport-and-visa department of the UVD for Moscow. Home address: 18, building 28/35, Novinsky Boulevard, Moscow, 109000.

Individual. Aleksandr Grigorievich Sorokin. Assessed contribution: 2800 rub. RF Pass. no.: 4502 394646, issued 23Apr2002 by Khovrino police unit. Home adress: 200, building 10/2, Lyapidevskogo Street, Moscow, 123098.

Individual. Zakharov Emelyan Vladimirovich. Assessed contribution: 2900 rub. RF Pass. no.: 4598 621481, issued 23Jul1999 by Moscow police unit no.83. Home adress: 29, building 16, Nikitskaya Street, Moscow, 121069.

Individual. Filinov Rafael Faritovich. Assessed contribution: 2900 rub. RF Pass. no.: 4500 468226, issued 23Feb2001 by Moscow police unit no.52 in Moscow Sokolinnaya Gora police station. Home address: 8, building 56, Leningradskoye Highway, Moscow, 129006.

Additional information:

Authorized Capital Stock: 10000 rub.

Establishment of the company

Registration body: Odintsovo Moscow R. Tax Insp. Unit of the Federal Tax Service

State Registration no.: 1055006336648

Date of registration: 27Jul2005

Of couse, Taiwanchik continues bringing together people from his phone book. This small book has once made him a fortune and still brings huge profits for this footballer and sharpie.

Thomas Petrov, Alexey Gordon, Rumafia.com

понедельник, 22 августа 2011 г.

Jurors in case against Bout review UN resolution


At a hearing on the case against Viktor Bout, Judge Shira Sheindlin has allowed public prosecutors to use UN documents that concern the businessman.

The prosecutor's office appealed to the court to let them acquaint the jury with the past of Bout, describing him as a major operator on the arms market and the violator of the UN Security Council sanctions. State prosecutors present as evidence UN documents and resolution 1532 of the Security Council unanimously adopted in March 2004 on the Liberian dictator Charles Taylor. The resolution mentioned Viktor Bout, whose assets all UN member states recommend to freeze for violating the embargo on goods to Taylor. In the same document it is recommended that UN member states deny Bout entry or transit through their territory.

Bout's lawyers protest against presenting in court the materials that have no direct connection to the charges brought against their defendant and that form a biased opinion about the businessman. The judge demanded that prosecutors remove the materials concerning episodes associated with Rwanda and Libya, assuming that the very mention of these countries may create an a priori negative attitude to Bout.

As already reported on The Russian Mafia web-site (rumafia.com), in March 2008 Viktor Bout was arrested in Bangkok at the request of the United States, and in November 2010 extradited to the United States. 

RIA Novosti

четверг, 18 августа 2011 г.

Andrey Borodin demands Bank of Moscow to pay $ 5 million compensation


Meshchansky court received a claim from the former president of Bank of Moscow Andrey Borodin who demands to pay him compensation of $ 5 million for early termination of the employment contract. Litigation is scheduled for September 5. According to Mikhail Dolomanov, the lawyer of Borodin, the lawsuit has Bank of Moscow as the defendant. In addition to the amount of compensation stipulated in the agreement, the plaintiff asks the court to compel the Bank of Moscow to pay interest for delayed payment.

Andrey Borodin’s powers as president and CEO of Bank of Moscow were terminated upon the decision of the extraordinary shareholders' meeting on April 21. Shortly before, in February, the Bank of Moscow witnessed a change of ownership, and Michael Kuzovlev was elected president of the bank. Borodin was not present at the meeting of shareholders, and on April11 by court order he was dismissed from his position and membership on the board until the end of investigation of the case against him by the Investigative Department of the Interior Ministry. Borodin was charged under Part 1, Art. 201 of the Criminal Code (Abuse of authority).

As already mentioned on The Russian Mafia web-site (rumafia.com), Borodin had already tried through court to get compensation from the Bank of Moscow for the early dismissal. On June 1 he sent a letter to the Bank of Moscow, demanding to pay the same $ 5 million and interest for delayed payment of compensation (at the time - another 1.5 million dollars). In the letter Borodin pointed out that according to the supplementary agreement to his contract with the bank, in the event of early termination at the initiative of the bank, regardless of the reasons for such termination, the bank shall pay him compensation within ten working days. He demanded to transfer the amount due to the charity fund Dobroserdiye.

The Bank of Moscow believes that the document providing for such generous compensation was forged. The bank has already addressed the Investigative Department of the MVD on this issue. But, according to experts, Andrey Borodin has a chance to win the court hearing.



Mikhail Prokhorov’s image has suffered


Several posters mocking advertisements of Mikhail Prokhorov, the leader of The Right Cause, appeared in the center of Moscow.

They differ from the original ones only in the slogan. Parody billboards ask the businessman citing a line of Danila Bagrov, a Brat-2 movie character, whether he made his fortune honestly: "Tell me, Mikhail Prokhorov, what gives power? Is it money? You have a lot of money, and so? This is what I think: the truth gives one power. The one who is right is the one who has the power. You have deceived people, made money, and so – have you become more powerful? No, you did not! Because there is no truth in you! The truth is one the side of those you have deceived." The project was designed by an anonymous group called Monolog.tv, which stated its internet address on the poster.

The posters have been declared illegal advertising. Moscow media and advertising department did not authorize their installment, so the officials had every reason to dismantle them.

According to The Russian Mafia web-site (rumafia.com), the department of media and advertising has already had to urgently take down Monolog.tv ‘s posters hanging in Moscow. In late May the group became publicly known through a scandalous action. Group members pasted near TsUM (abbreviation for Central Universal Department Store that is on Petrovka Str.) posters depicting President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in white shorts and tennis rackets thus advertising for the new summer collection of the store. TsUM management denied putting up the posters. Dmitry Peskov, press secretary of Putin, then asked the city authorities to promptly remove all the posters.

Mikhail Prokhorov has already appeared in Monolog.tv projects. In July on Bolotnaya Square there was a poster which read "Big body afloat." At some point a small balloon attached to the poster showered with money. Police failed to detain those behind the action.


среда, 17 августа 2011 г.

Interros to seize control over Norilsk Nickel


MMC Norilsk Nickel approved buyback by a majority vote. But price and volume are not yet determined. The board of directors decided that first Norilsk Nickel would make an offer to Oleg Deripaska’s Rusal, which owns 25% plus one share of MMC.

According to The Russian Mafia web-site (rumafia.com), in February Norilsk Nickel offered Deripaska's company to sell 20% for 12.8 billion dollars. Thus, the price per share was 335.7 dollars. Such a price offered a 40% premium compared to the market, but Rusal refused.

 Rusal says that buyback by Norilsk Nickel is not aimed at implementing the interests of all shareholders of MMC, but promotes only the interests of Interros, controlled by Vladimir Potanin. "The fact that management of Norilsk Nickel was instructed to make another offer to Rusal before the announcement of an offer to all shareholders is a further proof of the alleged buyback not to be aimed at increasing the capitalization of MMC, as stated by Interros, but only Interros seeking to obtain full control of the MMC and its cash flows," said Rusal in its press release. In this situation, Rusal intends to defend its rights by any lawful means, including criminal prosecution of both Interros and Norilsk Nickel top management.

Recently, the influence of Deripaska in Norilsk Nickel has weakened considerably. In addition, he may experience pressure from other shareholders like Viktor Vekselberg’s SUAL Group and Mikhail Prokhorov's Onexim, if they see that the sale of Norilsk Nickel shares pursues the interests of the company. On the other hand, Norilsk Nickel package for Deripaska is a strategic investment and he is resentful to sell it. He has already refused an offer with a big premium, and Norilsk Nickel is unlikely to offer more.

But this time Norilsk Nickel has an additional argument. Market experts predict that during the next buyback about 4-5% of Norilsk Nickel shares would be purchased and then retire the equities. Interros offers retire the shares acquired through buyback. This will reduce the total number of shares and will automatically increase the percentage of all shareholders. As a result, Interros and MMC shareholders that support it (namely, management of Norilsk Nickel, which owns 9.2% stake and Dutch raw materials trader Trafigura, which owns 8.05%) will control more than 50% of the company.


Bank of Moscow to employ help


Bank of Moscow is the last of the state-owned banks with substantial retail business to begin working with collection agencies. Such agencies perform debt recovery activities. So far the bank has only framework agreements with collectors. There is no information as to what is the debt amount the bank intends to collect through the agency.

Retail credit portfolio of the Bank of Moscow has far less major issues in comparison to the corporate one. Its quality was affected significantly during the conflict that accompanied Andrey Borodin, former president and shareholder, leaving the bank. According to reports based on Russian accounting standards, in the first six months of the year the share of overdue loans in the retail portfolio saw an increase from 14 to 18.8%, the amount rose from 10.5 billion rubles to 12 billion rubles.

According to The Russian Mafia (rumafia.com), Andrey Borodin, former president of Bank of Moscow, had voiced a strong opposition to debt recovery outsourcing. But the top management of the bank was not against resorting to collectors and even began pilot studies with the agencies. But their cooperation did not go further so far.

VTB, turnaround manager of Bank of Moscow, aims to increase its share in it from current 46.48 to 75% before the end of the third quarter. 


воскресенье, 14 августа 2011 г.

Abramovich's son eyeing to Russian oil industry


Businessman Roman Abramovich’s son is eyeing to Russian oil industry, says Simon Drake-Brockman, chairman of the board of directors of Zoltav Resources. A total of 40%  in Zoltav Resources is owned by Arkady Abramovich’s offshore company and in the next six months the company may acquire hydrocarbon assets in Russia and other former Soviet Union countries.

Oil industry interests of Abramovich's son first came out in April 2011 when his firm ARA Capital spent 3 million pounds to gain 26% in Crosby Asset Management, which specializes in investments in the energy sector, and then increased its stake to 40%. Crosby may have tempting prospects in Russia with the son of such a tycoon on board.

According to The Russian Mafia web-site (rumafia.com), Arkady Abramovich will soon turn 18 years old and in autumn he is going to enter in a university in the United States.

According to those who know him, Arkady Abramovich does not make an impression of an educated man, but he is very adventurous. He sincerely believes that his father, Roman Abramovich, controls all the oil in Russia, and without his knowledge no major project can be implemented in this country.

According to another friend of Abramovich, Jr., Arcady has tried to engage in oil trading in Kazakhstan, and accompanied his father on a trip to the gold mines in Chukotka. After his parents divorced in March 2007, Arkady stayed with his mother, but a few years later he moved to his father. 


Kozak may replace Matvienko on her post


If Valentina Matvienko leaves St. Petersburg to join the Council of Federation and Kozak heads the northern capital, he will need to increase the rating of United Russia in the city, where the party lost influence because of the declining confidence of townspeople in current governor. According to experts, in such a situation restoring the position of United Russia in short terms can only be successful if done by a St. Petersburg native with a positive public opinion who served in federal government in Moscow and is familiar with the city. Kozak is likely to head the list of the party in elections to the Duma.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin made no comments as to the possible appointment of Deputy Prime Minister governor. A Presidential Administration insider said that "there is no direct connection" between the fact that Kozak "will head the list of United Russia "and him possibly becoming governor. Another source in the Kremlin administration said that it was Deputy Prime Minister who was charged with conducting a check of the results of Valentina Matvienko’s government in St. Petersburg, since he previously worked in Smolny under the leadership of her predecessors Vladimir Yakovlev and Anatoly Sobchak.

According to The Russian Mafia web-site (rumafia.com), Kozak studied at the Law Faculty of St. Petersburg University at the same time with President Medvedev. In Smolny he worked with Prime Minister Putin, under the leadership of Anatoly Sobchak. In 1991 he was head of Law Administration of the City Council. Since 1994 he headed Law Committee in City Hall, and also served with Putin in the city government.



среда, 10 августа 2011 г.

Deripaska's pension fund is in for bankruptcy


Moscow Arbitration Court has ruled monitoring procedures regarding NPF Socium, whish is part of Oleg Deripaska’s Basic Element holding. The decision was made at the request of Contribution –Syberia (Vklad-Sibir) Ltd. NPF has to pay for Contribution –Syberia services in attracting customers in mandatory pension insurance (OPS).

Bankruptcy proceeding in respect of the pension fund is a precedent in the history of mandatory pension insurance. The fund is unlikely to be declared bankrupt, experts say. This situation is should be regarded as a continuation of series of scandals around private pension funds, the business of which is concentrated in acquiring about one trillion rubles of pension funds under management of the state. This market is becoming more attractive causing a growth of competition in this market segment. Pension Fund of Russia imposed a ban on the acceptance of contracts concluded by agents of private pension funds, because of the frequent fraud by agents of the NPF while concluding agreements. Subsequently, the ban was lifted, but the requirements for private pension funds and methods they use to attract customers were tightened.

According to The Russian Mafia web-site (rumafia.com), Contribution –Syberia was denied payment of agency fees precisely because of the fraudulent contracts. Socium claims that 458 contracts submitted by the agent were falsified. In addition, the agent violated the terms for reporting. NPF argument in court was the standard agency fee, according to which detection of at least one case of falsification enables the fund not to pay for all the rest contracts in the report. However, the accusation of fraud was not satisfied by the court because the fund reported it after Contribution – Siberia filed the lawsuit. At the same time the agency agreement provided that Socium was supposed to notify the agent of the identified fraud within three working days. Furthermore, according to the court, the private pension fund has not provided sufficient evidence of the facts of falsification.

Socium is planning to appeal against the court rulling on the grounds that it was unreasonable and serious procedural violations took place. 


BP went on the offensive


BP filed a notice of arbitration to Stockholm Tribunal to start the arbitration against Viktor Vekselberg’s Renova, 12.5% owner of TNK-BP. The British company accuses Renova of violating the shareholders agreement of TNK-BP, which was signed after the first conflict of shareholders in 2008. Under the agreement, TNK-BP has a primary right to exercise its shareholder profile projects in Russia and Ukraine. But through IES-Holding Renova retains ownership over gas and gas distribution assets in Russia and Ukraine (Gazeks) and the refueling complex in Yekaterinburg airport Koltsovo, also owned by it. Renova did not offer TNK-BP board of directors to buy the mentioned assets; therefore, the shareholder agreement was violated.

According to The Russian Mafia web-site (rumafia.com), the British company will try to prove that the Russian co-owners of TNK-BP were the first to formally violate the shareholder agreement. After signing the shareholder agreement, the question of acquiring Gazeks or its assets was not on the agenda of the board of directors of TNK-BP. The issue emerged last autumn, and the company got interested in the assets, but it never came to being discussed by the board. The refueling complex is also an asset in the oil business, but Renova is the sole owner, without the participation of TNK-BP


Golikova lobbies new family business projects


Immediately after the summer holidays, the State Duma will hold a second reading of the bill presented by the Health Ministry ("On the basis of health protection of the Russian Federation citizens"). According to doctors of the Pirogov movement, the document "presents a clear objective of further destruction of the existing health care system, shifting away from free medical care, and increasing corruption in medical sphere." General public and physicians were excluded from discussing the new bill by Golikova’s ministry, which was written primarily for the sake of articles that deprive municipalities of their health care institutions and remove an obstacle to closing hospitals and paramedical stations in villages and districts.

However, for Tatyana Golikova, the Health Minister, the early adoption of the new bill is quite beneficial. With the bill becoming a law, treatment of any disease will be conducted in accordance with standards approved by the Health Ministry. For example, standards for specialized care to patients with acute coronary syndrome will include mandatory use of Brilinta (ticagrelor), an expensive drug produced by the Anglo-Swedish company AstraZeneca, as a medication for blood thinning and clot prevention. This costly drug has not yet been registered in Russia, and therefore there is no evidence as to its efficacy and safety. At the same time it is Plavix – clopidogrel that is recognized to be gold standard in modern Russia. Moreover, this drug has the so-called generic drugs, that is, copies of a brand-name drug, which are no different from the original and are affordable to any pensioner.

Damage to the budgets of all levels in terms of health care spending is worth tens of billions of rubles. The realities are clear: drug prices rise, over the year the range of affordable medicines decreased by 40%, and pharmacies close down. There is a drop in the availability of medications in both in- and out-patients. These findings are recognized by the state government and by local ones, not to mention experts, non-government organizations, doctors, and, most importantly, general public. 


Lenders rush at Sergey Pugachev’s food


On August 18 Moscow arbitration court is holding case hearings over collecting debt from Ediar Ltd., the operating company of Hediard Moscow store which is part of the eponymous French grocery trading house. Ediar Ltd has a 615.9 rubles debt before Mezhprombank and its bankruptcy trustee, the state corporation Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA).

This is not the only claim by DIA to consumer assets of Sergey Pugachev. On August 2, the court received two claims against a Swiss company Poljot International SA, which belongs to the son of Pugachev, Aleksander, and which owns the watch brand Polet and Blu. The claim amounts to 3.5 thousand rubles. On June 6 and August 2 DIA filed lawsuits against OPK Developmet and Sredniye Torgovyae Ryady LLC (a five-star hotel project on the basis of Federal State Unitary Enterprise Kremlevsky) totaling to $ 3.86 billion.

According to the card index of the Moscow Arbitration Court, since March DIA and Mezhprombank filed 140 lawsuits worth over 10 billion rubles to Mezhprombank borrowers. Many of the lawsuits claim very small amounts equal to a few hundred rubles.

Mezhprombank’s debt before the CBR at the beginning of the year was estimated at 32.4 billion rubles, total debt was 93 billion rubles. It has not been disclosed how much Sergey Pugachev and his entities owe Mezhprombank. Gennady Melikyan, First Deputy Chairman of Bank of Russia, in October 2010 estimated Pugachev’s companies obligations to Mezhprobank at 94% of total bank loans (about 150 billion rubles).

According to The Russian Mafia web-site (rumafia.com), the actual debt of Ediar is considerably over the amount specified by DIA in the lawsuit. In autumn 2010 Russian Hediard branch had an overdue debt before the bank of approximately 10 million euros. In 2011 the chain’s sales continue to fall.

Market experts say that, if after the court decision the borrowers do not repay the debt to Mezhprombank, ACB can initiate their bankruptcy and take the assets that it shall distribute among the creditors of Mezhprombank. The second option is that DIA can sell the debt to third parties.

Debt collection from the companies of Sergey Pugachev can take years, analysts say. If Mezhprombank borrowers start bankruptcy procedure, the process can take anywhere from two to ten years.



Scandal in Right Cause


Mikhail Prokhorov dissolved the regional office in St. Petersburg, depriving 1334 people of membership in the party, taking advantage of Art. 16.3 of the party rules. According to this article, Prokhorov may unilaterally decide to expell any ordinary member of the party.

According to The Russian Mafia web-site (rumafia.com), since 1999, when several democratic parties merged in the Union of Right Forces, two groups in St. Petersburg office have been in conflict with each other. The conflict exacerbated in June when the office head was dismissed just before the Party Congress. The dismissed, Sergei Tsybukov, is the owner of plastics processing plants named after Komsomolskaya Pravda, and is known for his close relations with the first secretary of Leningrad Regional Committee of the Communist Party, Boris Gidaspov.

Tsybukov’s supporters appealed to federal political council for assistance in resolving the conflict. Prokhorov put an end to the conflict by expelling all St. Petersburg members of the party and began simplified recruiting of new ones. Part of those dismissed has already filled out the application for admission to the party. However, the press-service of the Right Cause claims that the party will admit only those who became party members after the party was headed by Prokhorov. According to the updated charter, he already approved 220 people (Tsybukov also filed an application).

On August 5 the office will hold a conference where the delegates will choose new leadership. According to rumours, Prokhorov recommended Yevgeny Mauter as head of the office. 




Law enforcers serving Grandpa Khassan

Grandpa Khassan was quick to react to the decoronation of Lasha Shushanashvili, a close associate of his. Lasha and Yuri Pichugin (nicknamed Pichuga), another friend of Usoyan, were deprived of their criminal rank by Taro and thieves in law sympathetic to him at a meeting on April 10, 2008. The event was unexpectedly attended by a once loyal ally of Yaponchik and Usoyan, criminal general Aleksander Bohr (a.k.a. Timokha). During his stay in the U.S.A. and Europe, he became friends with Oniani, and during the conflict Timokha gave preference to Taro.

On April 13 Grandpa Khassan, Ivankov, Lasha, and a dozen of other kingpins held a gathering of their own. During the meeting they deprived Taro, Merab Dzhangveladze, and Timokha of the status of thieves in law. However, such actions did not have much bearing on the underworld. Even prior to the decoronation, Usoyan’s gang had treated those decoronated as enemies. A similar situation was in the camp of the Taro.  Kingpins that remained neutral preferred to ignore the decisions made during the two gatherings and to treat the decoronated as thieves in law.

In summer 2008 Tariel Oniani decided to hold a big event that could have given him a strategic advantage over Grandpa Khassan. Taro convened more than 100 thieves in law at a meeting in a rented ship plying the Pirogovskoye reservoir in Moscow region. As a kind of arbitrator, Oniani invited Vyacheslav Ivankov. As Taro explained later, during the mafia congress he planned to announce that more Slavic criminal bosses should be coronated as thieves in law. Thus, he wanted to do something nice for Yaponchik, showing that Oniani did not like the predominance of immigrants from Georgia, now constituting 80% of the elite of the underworld. Clearly, Taro was going to condemn the behavior of Lasha and Grandpa Khassan. However, Ivankov ignored the event.

Only 36 kingpins came to the reservoir. Among them the most famous were Roland Gekechkori (a.k.a. Shlyapa), Dzhemal Khachidze, Merab Dzhangveladze, Ramaz Dzneladze (Ramaz), Ahmed Yevloyev (a.k.a. Sutuly), Georgy Managadze (Gia from Kutaisi), David Pahuridze (Minago) , Anzor Khutsishvili, Dzhondo Esebua (Johnny), Aleksander Bohr. On July 8 the boat sailed off. But soon the ship was seized by the Central Federal District GU MVD operatives, who for that purpose had to use boats and a helicopter. All participants of the gathering were detained, although most of them were released the next day.

8 July 2008. Pirogovskoye reservoir

Despite the temporary success, Lasha obviously felt out of place. For a long time he had not been involved in major clashes, preferring to do his business quietly, including business with the leader of the Solntsevskaya gang, Sergey Mikhailov. As a result, Shushanashvili could increasingly be seen heavily drunk in his office near metro station Belarusskaya, in a big downtown business centre owned by Lasha. Behaving like that he soon became more of a hindrance to Grandpa Khasan. In September 2008, at an opportune moment, Lasha was arrested by the Central Federal District GU MVD operatives. He was accused of illegal obtaining Russian citizenship and deported from the country, with a five-year ban on the entry. Shushanashvili settled in Greece at an influential thief in law Lavrenty Cholakidis (Leva Greek). It is noteworthy that Usoyan made no attempts to help Lasha stay in the Russian Federation. It was Mihas who used his connections to struggle for Shushanashvili. In summer 2009 he even managed to bring the thief in law back to Russia and to have (obviously, for a large bribe) the Federal Migration Service of Moscow grant him a temporary registration. This happened regardless of the fact that on February 2, 2009 Director of the FMS, Konstantin Romodanovsky, signed a decision about the undesirability of Shushanashvili’s stay in Russia as a person who "poses a real threat to the defense or state security or public order, in order to protect the constitutional order."

However, all these manipulations were soon discovered. Lasha chose to retire to Greece again. All court hearings in which he defended his right to remain a Russian citizen, were lost.

Meanwhile, Grandpa Khassan continued to strengthen his position by means of two favourite methods. The first was increasing coronation of supporters. Shortly after the expulsion of Lasha from Moscow, Usoyan and Ivankov held a gathering at a nightclub Chocolate, which belonged to Taivanchik. A total of 12 gangsters became thieves in law there. Among them there was Sergey Asatryan, a 23 year old son of Eduard Astaryan (a.k.a. Osetrina), an influential thief in law and a friend of Usoyan.

Alimzhan Tokhtakhunov (a.k.a Taiwanchik or Little Taiwanese)

The event was a quite peculiar one. Grandpa Khassan, Yaponchik, and a number of candidates for coronation gathered in a large banquet hall. Other candidates for the title and some criminal generals (some of them were in jail and remand prison) communicated with those in the nightclub via speakerphone. For this purpose a special station for switching the line was installed in the hall.

The second method of Usoyan was ridding of unwanted people with the help of law enforcement agencies. A month after the gathering on Pirogovskoye reservoir failed, Ramaz Dzneladze (Ramaz), a thief in law, one of the leaders of Kutaisi clan and a close ally of Taro, was detained on drugs in Moscow. He was sentenced to two years in prison. While he was serving the sentence, thieves in law of Grandpa Khassan’s clan decoronated Ramaz, and Oniani was also put behind bars. When Dzneladze was released in October 2010, he began to actively defend the interests of Oniani in the underworld. However, he did not do it for long. In July 2011, CFD GU MVD employees again arrested Ramaz. Again over carrying drugs.

In July 2009 Georgy Managadze, who took part in the gathering on Pirogovskoye, was sent to jail. This thief in law, as it turned out, kept a Kalashnikov rifle in a rented house near Moscow.

Another mobster, who supported Taro and participated in the gathering on the ship, was arrested in February 2010. David Pahuridze, a 72-year-old influential thief in law, was accused of stealing ... a bottle of whiskey from a supermarket.


In March 2010 another supporter of Oniani was sidelined by the police. Detectives arrested Merab Gogia, who at one point of time sponsored Saakashvili together with Taro and was a co-owner of a Spanish route for money laundering. The pretext for his arrest was banal. One of the wealthiest representatives of the criminal world was carrying a sachet with 28 grams of hashish.


Many other thieves in law from the clan of Oniani were withdrawn from the game with the help of security forces. But none of the prominent supporters of Grandpa Khassan was caught with weapons or drugs. None, except, of course, thieves in law who could not seriously affect the balance of power in the criminal world. And except the arrest of Vladimir Tyurin.


A particularly amusing story happened to the family of Eduard Astatryan (Osetrina), a close associate of Usoyan. His son, Sergey, also a thief in law, who had never been in prison, began to behave arrogantly in Moscow. He drove a Bentley, was rude to investigators, and got involved in most business clashes. In short, by all means he was asking for trouble. On August 5, 2010 officers of the Criminal Investigation department of the Interior Ministry stopped a convoy of expensive foreign-made cars (mostly Bentley and Mercedes ones), in which Osetrina Jr. was driving to yet another clash. He was rude to operatives and tried to ram their cars. As a result, the thief in law and his companions were arrested. During a search the investigators found drugs and a gun. Sergey Asatryan was put in remand prison, until Kuntsevskaya interdistrict prosecutor's office intervened in the situation (which cost the criminals 5 million rubles). The interdistrict prosecutor's office ordered to release Osetrina Junior. Then due to the prosecutorial efforts the case was closed altogether.


Eduard Astaryan (a.k.a. Osetrina)

Most of Aslan Usoyan’s men are out of reach for Moscow police and MVD in CFD. The exception was only Lasha Shushanashvili. And even then, his expulsion from Russia at the time was favourable to Grandpa Khassan.

But in summer 2011 Osetrina Jr. got in trouble again. In Rostov-on-Don he ordered to beat up an inmate whom he did not like as he said too many bad things about the clan of Usoyan. All conversations of Sergey Asatryan were recorded and those he contracted for the beating testified against him. As a result, Rostov investigators initiated a case under Article 115 of the Criminal Code (deliberate infliction of bodily harm) and decided to arrest Osetrina, Jr. MVD in CFD officers who were to implement the decision, did not really want to do it. Almost for a week they tried to avoid such an uncomfortable task in every way possible. But they had no choice, and on July 22, 2011 law enforcers had to arrest Sergey Asatryan. The operation can serve an example on treating suspects for students of police higher education institutions. The officers apologized a dozen times before Osetrina Jr., addressed him with all respect, by name and patronymic, etc.


Thieves in Law put each other to Russian prisons, but kill each other in Europe

In the war with Oniani, Grandpa Khassan’s clan did not only use its administrative resources, but also actively destroyed financial instuments of their opponents. On November 17, 2008 in Moscow, two killers used machine guns to open fire at Gela Tsertsvadze. He was wounded in the chest, abdomen, and left thigh. Doctors saved him only by miracle. Gela became handicap for life, confined to a wheelchair. Tsertsvade’s role in the clan of Oniani is a big one. He is responsible for investments in business projects; he monitors controlled entities in terms of compliance with the interests of Taro and does the accounting of the co-called obshchak, that is, the criminal mutual support fund. Gela also performs various technical tasks for the clan of Oniani. When there was a gathering held at the Pirogovskoye reservoir, it was he who engaged leasing of the ship, greeted guests, etc.

Oniani was in no hurry with response fire. After the assassination attempt on Tsertsvadze and arrests of a number of close associates, he resumed talks with many influential thieves in law, aiming to win them over to his side, and only then to start a decisive attack on Usoyan. Taro once again held several conversations with Badri Koguashvili, but again faced his refusal. Badri had long disliked Grandpa Khassan, but he did not want to take the side of Taro.

At the end of May 2009 Oniani met in Moscow with Vyacheslav Ivankov. He again offered Yaponchik to at least be neutral in the conflict, if not to take his side. However, Ivankov’s answer was categorical. He said that he had already decided to support Grandpa Khassan and was not going to change his point of view. And two weeks after this conversation, Oniani was arrested by Moscow police.

Investigators became aware of the following situation. In 2009, two businessmen controlled by the clan of Oniani, namely Sergey Abutidze and Johnny Managadze, had a quarrel over money. Since both knew Taro personally, they addressed him and asked for help in the resolution of the conflict. Oniani judged in favour of Abutidze. Managadze was in no hurry to implement the decision of the thief in law. Then on March 18, 2009 Taro’s militants seized Johnny and brought him to the cafe Ryabinushka where Oniani was relaxing.

The guards of the criminal general beat up the offender and ordered him to pay $ 500 thousand including a penalty for disobedience. Soon, Johnny's wife brought half of the amount and he was let go. He also was persistent in his plans not to pay up the second part of the debt, but Taro’s people insisted. And then the FSB, whose staff tapped phones of Oniani and members of his clan, found out about this situation.

Counterintelligence caught Johnny, after which he immediately filed a claim against the kingpin. Otherwise, Managadze would have been put in jail. Once there is a man, it is easy to have a case against him. It was Moscow police and UFSB in Moscow and Moscow region who performed the arrest of Oniani. On June 10, 2009 he was seized in his own cottage, situated in the prestigious village of Gorki-2. A FSB colonel immediately tried to stand up for Taro, to whom he was the agency’s curator, but he had no success. Among the staff of the counter-intelligence agency there were more people sympathetic to Grandpa Khassan and many had a higher rank.

Taro's arrest

After the arrest, the FSB spent almost five hours talking with Oniani and explaining to him how wrong he was. Later, during the investigation, the Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation held a formal interrogation of Taro in the framework of cases against Boris Berezovsky (concerning the poisoning of Aleksander Litvinenko, a former FSB officer) and Dmitry Baranovsky, former Solntsevskaya gang kingpin.

It quickly became clear that Oniani would not be released soon. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison for kidnapping and extortion. Temporarily, Merab Dzhangveladze took the reins of power. In the criminal world he is considered one of the most hateful thieves in law. According to the gangsters, Merab does not look physically developed, but he wind up easy and fights desperately using all items available at hand. They say, he may even bite into the opponent's throat. He has the same position in life, that is, to cut the opponent's throat by any means.

The kingpin has a brother, Levon, who does business in Georgia and has a large team of killers and militants. In addition, Merab Dzhangveladze is an excellent strategist who knows exactly how to carry out a positional struggle in the criminal world. As a result, he worked out a strategy of war with Grandpa Khassan which looks perfect so far.

On July 28, 2009 Yaponchik was attacked in Moscow. On that day, the kingpin met at Thaisky Slon restaurant with the owner of the restaurant, Lenya from Assyria, a relative of his ex-wife. When the thief in law opened the door and started down the stairs, a shot rang out. The man was shot in the stomach. As it turned out, the sniper was shooting from a Gazelle car parked across the road, where he had prepared a position. In serious condition Ivankov was taken to hospital. He underwent several surgeries and was brought into medically induced coma. When it seemed that Yaponchik was recovering, he developed peritonitis which led to the thief in law’s death in October 2009.

Yaponchik 's funeral

Before the death of Ivankov, Grandpa Khassan and his people rang up a few dozen of thieves in law including those in prison. They reported the findings of internal investigations, namely that Oniani and Merab Dzhangveladze were behind Yaponchik’s assassination. As a result, 36 criminal generals signed a collective letter to the prisons (the so-called “malyava”) in which they instructed inmates to “act accordingly” if they met or were put in one cell with Tariel Oniani, who had been put in Matrosskaya Tishina prison. The thieves in law called Oniani a bastard and authorized “decent prisoners” to treat him in accordance with the laws of the underworld which he had betrayed.

The letter had signatures of Yaponchik, Grandpa Khassan, Lasha Rustavskoy, Yura Pichuga, Koba Rustavskoy, Kostya Gysi, and Shakro Jr., the presence of whose autograph is quite surprising.

Almost half of the authors of the message are Slavic thieves in law, including Lekha Zabava, Serega from Surgut, Andrey from St. Petersburg, Vasya Voskres, etc. However, almost all of them are proteges of Usoyan. According to the laws of the criminal world, a person whom thieves in law call names using swear words in a letter (like they did with Oniani), must be killed. In fact, Taro was thus sentenced to death.

Neither investigators, nor representatives of the criminal world know for sure who was behind the murder of Ivankov. There are several versions. Thus, several investigators tried to convince the authors of these lines that the attempt was organized by Grandpa Khassan. Yaponchik was trying to divide the business with Usoyan and had individual projects. If only Ivankov would find out that Oniani’s arrest was framed up by Grandpa Khassan, Ivankov would have been extremely displeased The killers, according to this version of the investigators, did not intend to kill the thief in law (the sniper could easily shoot him in the head), but were only to wound him and to anger their victim. Grandpa Khasan would explain to his friend who wanted to kill him and then Ivankov would head the struggle against Oniani’s clan. He would have been supported by the Slavic and neutrals thieves in law. They would have to, as the authority of Yaponchik was undeniable in the criminal world and was much higher than that of Usoyan.

At first everything went according to the plan. Taro was sentenced in the malyava. But all was messed up by the peritonitis developed by Yaponchik. Oleg Shishkanov and Aleksey Petrov, two extremely influential Slavic kingpins, arrived for the funeral of Ivankov. They questioned the involvement of Oniani in the assassination. So the plan collapsed completely.

Another version of the crimes was put forward before Rumafia by reputable businessmen from Solntsevo. According to them, Yaponchik had recently developed his own business. He was quite harsh in taking control of the batching plant and several construction markets in Moscow region. Former owners, Azerbaijani and Chechen influential criminals, did not like it.

Legend of the criminal world Vyacheslav Ivankov (alias: Yaponchik)

However, according to the main version of the attack on Ivankov, it was organized by Oniani’s clan. Indeed, shortly after the arrest of Taro in France, there was a gathering of prominent Kutaisi mobsters, including Merab Dzhangveladze, Irakli Kalichava, Vladimir Dzhanashia (Lado), and Malkhaz Kitija (Makhonya). They decided that Oniani’s clan would temporarily be led by Makhonya. According to Grandpa Khassan’s clan, that was when the gangsters decided to eliminate Yaponchik.

Oniani, who was in remand prison, told other thieves in law that he was upset with the death of Yaponchik and that he was sure that it was intelligence personnel, or the “red”, who were to blame. His words are a typical public version of the criminal world.

Clan of Grandpa Khassan did not care for such statements of Taro. Its members felt that after the murder of Yaponchik they were let off the leash. The response began to be developed in Greece where at the moment were Lasha Rustavi and Lavrenty Cholakidis (Leva Greek). Leva’s brother, a successful businessman, was well connected in law enforcement agencies in Greece. And Cholakidis supervises several teams of killers.

As a result, several contracted gunmen went to France and set out a real hunt for people from the clan of Oniani. Two militants, who arrived to eliminate Dzhangveladze, were arrested by local police. Other criminals broke into the cottage, where stayed Kalichava, Dzhanashia, and Kitiya and opened fire. The thieves in law managed to escape by jumping out of a second story window, but it did not help much. On March 20, 2010 Lado was shot in Marseille. On May 10 in Greece killers murdered Malkhaz Kitiya. On May 20 Cholakidis died from blood clot, and it was Rustavi Lasha who took over control of the gangs of killers.

As a result, Merabi and his surviving associates hid for some time. Grandpa Khassan’s clan started celebrating their victory. But as it turned later, there was more struggling to come.


The last battle of Grandpa Khassan?

Having believed that the clan of Oniani was defeated, Aslan Usoyan relaxed and focused his efforts on the conquest of new territories, particularly Ukraine. Previously he also was a frequent visitor to this country. Once he was met by Georgy Surkis, the president of the Football Federation of Ukraine, and travelled by Surkis’s private jet. In Ukraine Usoyan managed to win control over Illichivsky port, a number of shopping centres.

In 2008 businessman Shabab Aloyan decided to build a furniture centre 4room in Kiev. Grandpa Khassan was involved in the project. When the work was completed, Usoyan decided to get the whole centre instead of the agreed 25%, but was refused. On October 2, 2009 killers shot Aloyan and two security guards, employees of Ukrainian special services, right at the doorway of 4room. After that Usoyan stopped coming to the Ukraine for some time, preferring to send there his envoys: Oleg Mukha, Yuri Pichuga who is at the moment serving a sentence in Ukraine, Vasya Voskres, etc. When a new president was elected in the Ukraine, the situation demanded a personal visit of Grandpa Khassan. In April 2010 he flew to Kiev, was arrested and deported to Moscow.

After that Usoyan once again began sending his henchmen to the Ukraine. He preferred to go to more peaceful locations such as the south of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Abkhazia. On September 16 he returned to Moscow from a trip and drove a jeep to an apartment on Tverskaya Street (it is registered on Nodari Usoyan). Usoyan got out of the car and it drove away. A security guard opened the front door for the thief in law. At the doorway in the light coming from the inside Grandpa Khassan was a perfect target. A sniper opened fire from the opposite house. The bullet hit Usoyan in the back and exited through his stomach.

16 September 2010. Moscow, Tverskaya Street

It is noteworthy that at the moment when the killer shot Grandpa Khassan, on the other end of Moscow Dzhemal Mikeladze (Dzhemo) was holding a gathering of influential thieves in law. He supported Merab Dzhangveladze in the underworld war, which Usoyan did not like. A conflict arose between the criminal generals. As a result, Dzhemo began to look for accomplices in the underworld. In particular, on the day of the assassination attempt of Aslan Usoyan he had a meeting in one of the cafes on Bagratinovsky passage in Moscow. There he met with his brother Mamuka Mikeladze, a thief in law Gela Kardava, kingpins Yuri Yesin (Samosval), and Nicholay Botinkin (Botinok). They discussed the war between the clans of Usoyan and Taro.

The wound of Grandpa Khasan was not severe and he soon recovered. The thief in law locked himself in his suburban cottage guarded by 15 people. He had things to think over.

Usoyan did not know who was behind the assassination attempt, and, according to Rumafia, he still has not figured it out. He remembered the conflict between his curators from the FSB and other forces within the agency, and an unpleasant conversation with an official from the presidential administration of the Olympic Games in Sochi, and involvement in various commercial disputes with Yaponchik. He also remembered how independent Slavic thieves in law looked at him after the death of Ivankov. And, of course, conflicts with Dzhemo, Oniani, and Merab.

Merab Dzhangveladze

As a result, Usoyan formally accused Merab Dzhangveladze, not Taro, of the assassination attempt. In November Russian law enforcers found out that allegedly there was an attack on Merab in Moscow. According to the operational sources, killers broke into the cottage, which the thief in law secretly visited, but he managed to escape. However, there was no opportunity to check if it was true. The mafia boss did not file any claims to the police, naturally.

After the assassination attempt, Usoyan reduced to a minimum his contact with the outside world. Using thirty mobile phones he occasionally called the closest thieves in law and as for meetings, Grandpa Khassan sent there two henchmen on his behalf, namely Yuri Usoyan (Yura Lazarovsky) and Dmitri Chanturia (Miron) and loyal Eduard Asatryan. Usoyan was gaining strength for future battles. He did not succeed in restoring his former influence in the criminal world and he was losing one important battle after another.

In December 2010 Lasha from Rustavi became active again. He held a massive gathering in Greece where he summoned dozens of thieves in law, and was able to have gangsters from Tbilisi and independent ones from Kutaisi at the same table. The congress was attended by Aleksander Bohr, Badri Koguashvili, Georgy Uglava (Tahee), etc. Eduard Asatryan came to Greece as the representative of Grandpa Khassan. Dzhemo was also invited to the event, but he refused to come. Quickly and without problems the parties were able to resolve many issues that had been pending for years. At the meeting it became clear that influential thieves in law agree with each other much easier when there is no direct intervention from Usoyan and that kingpins did not want all those wars. It was only Grandpa Khassan, to whom they let deal with the competition and remain a boss of the bosses, who needed all those wars.

As a result, in December opposition to Usoyan began to grow. Badri Koguashvili began to unite neutral thieves in law, as a force capable to rise above Grandpa Khassan. This movement was joined by the leader of Slavic gangsters, Aleksey Petrov. Dzhemo also supported them. Until this spring, he clashed with Badri but for the sake of such a reason as bringing Grandpa Khassan to peace, Dzhemo and Badri met in March in the UAE and decided to forget their past. The thieves in law held conversations with the elders of the mafia, who already did not like Usoyan.

Second from left Badri Koguashvili

Shakro, who for some time was released from jail in Spain, was extremely dissatisfied with the results of the struggle for his empire. He laid part of the claims on Lasha, but they seem to have found a common language. But activities of Grandpa Khassan caused extreme dissatisfaction in Kalashov, to put it mildly. He denounced them, and also announced that Oniani continues to be a companion and a thief in law. Soon Shakro was again sent to prison to serve his sentence.

Merab Dzhangveladze soon joined the growing movement and held several meetings with Badri. And then he sent his brother Levon to the patriarch of the criminal world, the 85 year old thief in law Georgy Chikovani (Gogi), who lived in Georgia. This is the only thief in law in Georgia, who is not in prison. His decisions are accepted without question by other mafiosi. The Dzhangevladze brothers asked Chikovani to judge the situation around Tariel Oniani. And he took the side of the opposition to Grandpa Khassan.

As a result, a new malyava was written. It recognized Taro as a thief in law and imposed a moratorium on the coronation of Usoyan’s henchmen. Malyava was signed by dozens of thieves in law, including the elders of the criminal world like Georgy Chikovani, Amiran Ebralidze (Amiran from Lanchhutsk), and Gourman Chikaberidze (Chica). Under the message there were also signatures of Merab, Timokha, Dzhemal Khachidze, etc.

The authors of the letter promised serious trouble to those who would participate in the coronations of Usoyan’s people and also to those coronated. It is remarkable that the Slavic kingpins supported such a position of the old thieves in law. Konstantin Borisov, nicknamed Kostyl (Russian for “crutch”) spoke on their behalf. He did not sign the malyava, but he declared that the Slavs also did not like that a large number of Usoyan’s people had become thieves in law.

Malyava appeared before the gathering in the UAE, which had been planned by the clan of Grandpa Khassan along with expected coronation of his henchmen. Usoyan postponed the event, but giving it up altogether would mean showing his weakness. In May he convened a gathering in Moscow region, inviting such influential thieves in law as Mikhail Voevodin (Misha Luzhnetsky), Vladimir Zyatkov (Zyatek), and Vagif Suleymanov (Vagif), and crowned five gangsters, including a Slav named Oleg Pirogov nicknamed Tsirkach, a Chechen criminal boss Gelani Bilalov named Sedoy, and a Belarusian Aleksander Kushnerov (Kushnir). Thus, he violated the decision of the elders.

The united opposition did not recognize the results of the gathering. Usoyan’s clan claimed that the opposition had no tangible reasons other than personal conflicts. Supposedly the decision on the coronation of the five gangsters had been made at a meeting in Greece. New thieves in law declared personal vendetta to those who did not recognize them as criminal generals. In particular, Sedoy harboured a grudge against Dzhemo and Badri. Moreover, the Chechen mafia boss had very strong intentions.

In May Koguashvili convened a council of united clans to decide how to proceed in respect of Usoyan. In Moscow he met with Badri, Petrick, and Gela Tsertsvadze of Oniani’s clan. But this gathering, in accordance with an old tradition, was busted by Moscow police. They found Koguashvili carrying a sachet of drugs and sent him to jail.

On June 17 there came a response. Andrey Selvyan, deputy director of security agency SMERSH and a criminal boss, was shot in Moscow. He was a confidant of Usoyan, responsible for security of the thief in law and his relations with law enforcement agencies. In July Grandpa Khassan called Dzhemo and effectively declared the death sentence for him. Usoyan wanted to hold a massive gathering of supporters in the UAE, but his health did not let him. Recently the wound affected his health again and Grandpa Khassan was under the supervision of doctors from the Botkin Hospital.

At the moment all parties to the conflict gather strength and prepare for new battles. However, it is clear that the united opposition is united only before the common enemy like Grandpa Khassan. If they manage to remove him from the throne of boss of the bosses (and so far there is no clear evidence that it is possible), former partners will split up again and start wars with each other.

Thomas Petrov, Alexey Gordon, Rumafia.com