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Old and new faces of Russian organized crime in U.S. case



At a time when Russian organized crime in the United States has tended to become white collar and businesslike, focused on Medicare frauds and tax scams, there was something refreshingly old-school about the indictment unsealed in New York on April 16.
It alleges that since 2006, a Russian-led criminal network has operated illegal high-stakes gambling activities, including online sports books for Russian millionaires and poker games in New York and Los Angeles for an A-list domestic clientele of professional athletes, media celebrities and financiers. They are also accused of extortion and running a $100-million-plus money laundry that operated through Cyprus. (For more on that enterprise sector, see here.)
In many ways, this was a throwback to a previous age. The alleged ringleader is the infamous Uzbek-born gangster Alimzhan Tokhtakounov, known as ‘Taivanchik’ (‘Taiwanese’). He is one of the last greats of the traditional gangster elite of the vory v zakone (‘thieves within the code’). As a vor, he gave the operation protection and credibility, for which he was reportedly paid $10 million in 2011 alone.
The other 33 people who actually carried out the crimes according to the indictment were a mix of Russians and others. At first glance, again this reads like something out of the 1990s or earlier, with picturesque nicknames like Dmitry ‘Blondie’ Druzhinsky and Joseph ‘Joe the Hammer’ Mancuso.
However, even the cast list demonstrates how Russian organized crime in the U.S. has moved on from its Brighton Beach days. First of all, as well as being multi-ethnic, it catered for and recruited members of financial and cultural elites. The international art dealer Hillel Nahmad has been arrested, for example, and his upscale Manhattan gallery was allegedly the front for gambling and money laundering operations. Banker Ronald Uy advised the gang on how to avoid drawing attention to their money transfers.
Second, this was a very fluid, networked organization. Tokhtakounov was a protected guarantor and mediator, but the main operations were carried out by two interconnected subgroups, described in the indictment as the ‘Taiwanchik-Trincher’ and ‘Trincher-Nahmad’ organizations.
Tokhtakounov himself is unlikely to be brought to justice. He is already wanted by the U.S. authorities on fraud charges relating to the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics and is the subject of an Interpol Red Notice, an international arrest warrant. However, he is now in Russia, a citizen and the Russian constitution bars the extradition of its nationals. As long as he remains there and does not anger the authorities, he is safe. Given that the prosecution is in the hands of U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara, who has just been featured on a Russian blacklist, Moscow is unlikely to bend the rules to help. In that, at least, this case is very familiar.


Poaching and Organized Crime in Russia



A recent story in the New York Times described how African elephants may soon face extinction as poachers hunt them down with automatic weapons, GPS tracking devices, and Land Rovers. Seeking to satisfy seemingly insatiable Chinese demand for ivory, poachers attack elephant herds with murderous viciousness, hacking out ivory tusks from mortally wounded animals. An extensive organized crime network, greased by sophisticated bribery schemes, facilitates shipment of ivory to Chinese markets.
While poaching in Russia lacks the same sensational subject as the African elephant, the environmental group Greenpeace estimates that poaching costs the Russian economy $5 billion annually. Broadly speaking, environmental crime in Russia is an increasingly serious problem. From illegal logging to extensive domestic illegal markets of the environment, Russia’s natural resources are threatened by asset stripping by organized crime groups. Writing in Demokratizatsiya, Louise Shelley suggests that environmental damage, such as was perpetrated in the Soviet period, has the potential to continue, because the organized crime groups involved are more concerned with short-term profits than long-term consequences.
A report by Ekaterina Kuraeva, an advanced criminal law student at Orenburg State University and a TraCCC Saratov Center grantee, draws attention to the egotistical, consumer market-based relations between people and nature around the world. Kuraeva notes how people treat nature as an essentially inexhaustible resource, which has led to shrinking ecological diversity, if not the outright extinction of many wild plants and animals. Even as mass extinctions and sustained environmental damage have encouraged many to reassess how humans relate to the environment, this has not stopped poachers from hunting “nature’s bounty.” The logic of the market, as it were, dictates that rare species fetch high prices.
Kuraeva describes modern poaching as the hunting of animals and/or birds in violation of laws and environmental protection regulations. Moreover, modern poaching, as suggested in the case of the African elephants, employs all available technical means, including high-powered automatic rifles, grenades, GPS tracking devices, satellite communication instruments, high-speed vehicles, and helicopters.
Broadly speaking, the factors contributing to high levels of poaching in Russia include the economic benefits and increasing sophistication of organization crime groups operating in this area. Kuraeva highlights how the costs of poaching are relatively unknown among the Russian public, in part due to weak media coverage, even though one or another law enforcement agency is arresting poachers. That said, statistics provided by Russian lawyer A.C. Kurmanov suggest that 95% of poaching crimes go unreported to authorities. It follows then that poachers assume that they can engage in illegal activities without a credible threat of criminal punishment by the state.
An anecdote from Russian environmental scholar V.E Boreiko helps to illustrate the intersection of Russian beliefs about the environment and market forces. Recently, instructions for building electro-magnetic pulse devices have become increasingly sought after in Russia, often for use in fishing. Although these devices greatly improve fishing yields, they destroy fish stocks and prevent natural replenishment. Boreiko notes how a few years ago, local fisherman in Ekaterinburg learned that bookstores in their cities were selling instruction manuals for building the electro-magnetic pulse devices. In an effort to save their livelihood, the fisherman bought the entire stock of manuals and publicly burnt them.
When poaching moves from local malcontents building electro-magnetic pulse devices to sophisticated organized crime groups, the problem becomes drastically more serious. S.N. Lyapustin, a Russian scholar and author of “Combating contraband flora and fauna in Russia’s Far East,” provides a number of insights in this area. According to Lyapustin, wild animals and plants are transported across borders, either by avoiding customs controls, passing customs with false certification documents, or making false or insufficient customs declarations. Poachers generally fail to observe federal regulations pertaining to the transportation of wild animals and plants, while also failing to report any currency earnings. Generally, organized crime groups facilitate transport of poached animals and plants to borders, where customs officials, border guards, or other state officials are enticed through bribery to assist. It follows that direct involvement in transport of poached animals and plants involves state transportation officials, truck drivers, railway workers, and baggage workers, many of whom are willing to supplement their meager incomes with side payments.
In seeking to address the problem of poaching in Russia, Kuraeva argues that both state and society can make worthwhile contributions. First, it should be noted that much of the burden for combating poaching lies with state agencies tasked with monitoring hunting. In particular, Kuraeva posits that these agencies will become more effective if they are given the authority to initiate criminal cases against poachers as well as carry out independent investigations. Additionally, it is seen as essential to raise legal guarantees of protection for hunting oversight agency officials to those of law enforcement personnel. Kuraeva indicates that proper provision of resources and more effective training programs for hunting oversight agencies will yield benefits.
As poaching is a crime punishable by law, Kuraeva suggests that it is important to improve coordination between natural resource management agencies and law enforcement. Moreover, the expansion of environmental police divisions across the country, mirroring those that currently exist in Nizhni Novgorod, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Leningrad, and other locales, would help.
Finally, Kuraeva assigns an important role to civil society organizations, which have already made substantive contributions to the fight against environmental crime. By bringing together citizens, hunters, fishing interests, and other relevant actors, civil society groups can build popular pressure for more robust state protection of the environment. However, at a more basic level, civil society groups can work towards building public knowledge about and concern for the environment, which will help influence the way Russians treat their country’s immense natural beauty.



'Taiwanchik' among 34 charged in US Russian crime ring




WASHINGTON, April 17 – RAPSI. US authorities charged 34 people on Tuesday for allegedly being part of a Russian crime ring that investigators said engaged in extortion and money laundering in excess of $100 million, and operated high-stakes poker games in the United States that attracted professional athletes, Hollywood celebrities and Wall Street executives.
The charges “demonstrate the scope and reach of Russian organized crime. One of the principal defendants is a notorious Russian ‘thief-in-law’ allegedly directing an international conspiracy through Cyprus to the US,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos in a statement.
“The defendants are alleged to have handled untold millions in illegal wagers placed by millionaires and billionaires, laundered millions, and in some cases are themselves multi-millionaires,” he added.
Among those named in the indictment, unsealed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Tuesday, was Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, also known as “Taiwanchik," a Russian businessman who was earlier accused of bribing ice skating judges at the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Tokhtakhounov and three others who were charged on Tuesday have not been arrested and are still at large. Law enforcement officials said Tokhtakhounov is believed to be in Russia. The other 30 people implicated in the crime ring have been taken into custody.
Tokhtakhounov and most of the others named in the indictment were born in the former Soviet Union and are thought to have substantial, ongoing criminal ties to Ukraine and the Russian Federation.
“Taiwanchik is one of the really big names in the Russian underworld, one of the few names that every Russian gangster is going to know, so it gives it a sort of star appeal,” said Mark Galeotti, professor of global affairs at New York University, in an interview with RIA Novosti.
The indictment spells out two criminal enterprises with leadership based in New York City, Kiev and Moscow.
The first enterprise, which prosecutors call the “Taiwanchik-Trincher Organization,” allegedly catered to oligarchs and wealthy Russians residing in the former Soviet Union and throughout the world.
According to the indictment, the group “employed a sophisticated money laundering scheme to move tens of millions of dollars in proceeds from the gambling operation from the former Soviet Union through shell companies in Cyprus into various investments and other shell companies in the United States.”
The second enterprise is known as the “Nahmad-Trincher Organization.” Prosecutors said it was a high-stakes, illegal gambling business run out of New York City and Los Angeles that catered primarily to multi-millionaire and billionaire clients. None of the athletes, celebrities or Wall Street executives was identified.
According to the indictment, “the Nahmad-Trincher Organization used online gambling websites, operating illegally in the United States, to operate an illegal gambling business that generated tens of millions of dollars in bets each year.”
“These criminal enterprises were vast and many-tentacled, with one of them reaching across the Atlantic to launder tens of millions of dollars from Russia to the US via Cyprus and in some cases, back again,” said Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara in a statement.
“International money laundering is a serious offense, and we will do everything within our power to inhibit those who seek to sanitize the proceeds of crime through legitimate investment vehicles in this country from doing so,” he added.
In addition to Tokhtakhounov, the FBI is asking for the public’s help in locating the three other fugitives:
• Abraham Mosseri, 40. Wanted for his role in allegedly operating an illegal sports bookmaking operation.
• Donald McCalmont, 45. Wanted for allegedly laundering money through a New York company that was taken over to repay a gambling debt.
• William Edler, 49. Wanted for his role in allegedly operating an illegal sports bookmaking operation.
The crime ring is unusual, said Galeotti, in that it’s reminiscent of a bygone era.
“The interesting thing about this is it’s much more of a traditional criminal operation. I think it reflects the fact that ‘Taiwanchik’ is sort of an old-style Russian gangster. Nowadays the new criminal hot shots tend to be much more involved in white collar crime in the US,” he said.
As for Tokhtakhounov, the indictment will have a limited impact, seizing some assets and reducing the number of places he can freely travel, said Galeotti, adding, “I don’t think he’ll be losing a lot of sleep over this.”



The FBI Busted A Russian Gambling Ring That Catered To Wall Streeters, Oligarchs, And Hollywood Stars

More than thirty people were charged by federal authorities in a massive illegal gambling, money laundering, and extortion scheme tied to Russian organized crime, according to an indictment in the U.S. District Court Southern District of New York.

The operation allegedly involved two criminal organizations, Nahmad-Trincher (based in Los Angeles and NYC), which catered to millionaires, billionaires and poker pros, and Taiwanchik-Trincher (based in Kiev, NYC, and Moscow), which serviced oligarchs from Russia and the former Soviet Union.
According the indictment, these groups had operations spanning across continents with defendants located in Los Angeles, Russia, New York and the former Soviet Union, bank accounts in Switzerland, holding companies in Cyprus and the United States, and a gambling website in Taiwan.
The characters in the drama include the son of a billionaire art dealer, a Bronx plumber, a JPMorgan branch manager, a real estate firm in New York, a car repair shop in Brooklyn, and a Russian man charged with allegedly bid-rigging the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Games, etc.
Basically, this goes deep.
The Taiwanchik-Trincher Organization, which the indictment identifies as an "international organized crime group with leadership based in New York City, Kiev, and Moscow," was allegedly led by Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov (a.k.a. "Alik"), Vadim Trincher (a.k.a. "Dima"), and Anatoly Golubchick (a.k.a. "Tony"), the indictment said. They are all named as defendants.
You might recognize the name Tokhatkhounov. He was the guy charged with allegedly bribing officials at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, according to the indictment.
Based in Russia, Tokhatkhounov was allegedly referred to as "Vor," which is defined as a Russian term meaning "Thief-in-Law."
It's basically like a version of the "Godfather," and is a moniker bestowed on the highest-level criminal figures from the former Soviet Union. According to the indictment, a "Vor" gets tribute from other criminals, offers protection, and uses "their authority to resolve disputes among criminals."
Tokhatkhounov's group allegedly ran an illegal gambling business, money laundering, extortion, and other criminal operations. The crux of their business, however, was a series of high-stakes poker games and gambling activities frequented by oligarchs.
Nahmad-Trincher, based in Los Angeles and NYC, was structured in much the same way, but catered to Wall Streeters, pro athletes, and Hollywood stars, The New York Times reported.
No famous figures were named specifically in the indictment.
Names or not, we're talking big money here — like $50 million running through Cypriot and American shell companies, or $499,800 sent to a bank account in Taiwan owned by an illegal gambling website operating in the United States, or $850,000 moving from a Swiss bank account to a U.S. bank account under the control of Noah "The Oracle" Seigel.
To hide all these transactions, says the complaint, the Trincher groups relied on a sophisticated money laundering operation. Not only did they run money through a Brooklyn car garage, a real estate company, and an online used car dealership, but they also used a JP Morgan branch manager in NYC named Ronald Uy.
Uy, who was named as a defendant, allegedly assisted "in structuring several transactions at the Bank designed in part to avoid generating currency transaction reports," according to the indictment.
Of course, gambling doesn't work out for everyone all the time. When one client wins, another one must lose. Losers playing in the Trincher group's high stakes games could, according to the Feds, expect violence or at least threats of it.
In one case," Nahmad-Trincher allegedly took control of 50% of "Client-3's" Bronx-based plumbing business when he racked up $2 million in gambling debt.
There were several arrests made today in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and other places, according to the New York Post.
Earlier this morning, the FBI raided Helly Nahmad Art Gallery at the swanky Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan's Upper East Side. The Feds were looking for Helly Nahmad, the son of billionaire art baron David Nahmad.

Poker Madam’ Who Arranged Illegal Games For Top Hollywood Stars Indicted In New York’s Organized-Crime Gambling Ring





Notorious Hollywood poker madam Molly Bloom is one of nearly three dozen people who face federal charges in connection with a high-stakes illegal poker ring that stretched from Tinseltown to New York and involved some of Hollywood’s biggest names, drugs, and even alleged Russian mobsters.
Bloom was previously sued and charged with helping organize illegal Hollywood poker games that included Tobey Maguire, Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Radar broke the story about Hollywood’s illegal A-list games and detailed how Bloom arranged dealers and coordinated players for the events, charges she denied but were supported by multiple sources who spoke to Radar. We also were first to reveal that alleged Russian mobsters played in some of her games and now the Feds have indicted her on related counts.
Major league baseball questioned New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez after Radar’s reports that he had played in games arranged by Bloom.
According to a bombshell indictment filed by prosecutors in Manhattan on Tuesday, Bloom – a stunning brunette — was one of seven people in an organized crime crew who ran the illegal poker business from 2010 until it was smashed this week, in a joint operation between the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service, New York Police Department and the United States Attorney.
Bloom, it’s alleged, “knowingly and willfully did conduct, finance, manage, supervise and direct” an illegal gambling business.
She distributed the proceeds of her unlawful activity, via two checks totaling $25,900, into a bank account in California “in connection with operating an illegal poker game,” the 84-page indictment said.
Meanwhile, Radar has exclusively learned that Illya Trincher — one of the alleged Russian mobsters also charged with running the organized crime enterprise in New York — played in the busted Hollywood poker ring previously linked to a cavalcade of celebrities, and organized by Bloom.
Investigators said were three illegal operations that operated international gambling businesses that “catered primarily to celebrities, professional poker players and very wealthy individuals working in the financial industry.”
Trincher — whose father Vadim, 52, and brother Eugene, 26, were also charged in the bust — played in at least one high-stakes game of poker at The Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., according to a source with knowledge of his gambling activities.
Actors Maguire, DiCaprio, Damon and Ben Affleck played in the same ring, as RadarOnline.com was first to reveal in 2011.
Authorities did not name any of the celebrities alleged to have participated in the ring, although none are accused of participating in the criminal enterprise, and there is no suggestion any of those celebrities ever played in games with Trincher, 27.
It’s almost certain, however, that some big names in Tinseltown and Wall Street will be swept up in the case, one high-roller predicted to RadarOnline.com.
 “There are a lot of nervous people around the poker circuit,” the source said.
“These games, whether in New York or Los Angeles, were often attended by a who’s who of the entertainment and finance worlds where big money changed hands.”
“Illya played one high stakes game where hundreds of thousands of dollars changed hands,” the source told RadarOnline.com.
One of Bloom’s other co-conspirators in the poker ring is Eugene Trincher, Illya’s brother. He faces 30 years in prison if convicted on two charges of money laundering and operating an illegal gambling business; Bloom is staring at 10 years jail on one count of operating an illegal gambling business.
The indictment named Illya Trincher, along with Hillel Nahmad, aka “Helly,” Noah Siegel, aka “The Oracle” and John Hanson, as the leaders of a criminal enterprise known as Nahmad-Trincher Organization, which generated tens of millions of dollars in bets each year from its bases in New York City and Los Angeles, from 2006.
It’s claimed they used threats of violence to make sure customers paid their debts.
“The Nahmad-Trincher Organization was a high-stakes illegal gambling business run out of New York City and Los Angeles that catered primarily to multi-millionaire and billionaire clients,” prosecutors said in the court filing.
The men allegedly “engaged in crimes, including conducting an illegal gambling business, money laundering and extortion.”
Trincher is described in the indictment as stand-over man who “participated in the collection and attempted collection of more than $2 million on unlawful gambling debts” from an unnamed client “by, among other things, acquiring his (Bronx, N.Y.) plumbing company, titled Titan.”
Trincher’s associate Nahmad allegedly financed the operation through the Helly Nahmad Gallery inside the Carlyle Hotel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Trincher’s father, Vadim, is said to have directed much of the international racketeering enterprise from his $5 million apartment at Trump Tower.
According to federal investigators, Vadim, along with Anatoly Golubchik, aka ‘Tony’, were the leaders of another syndicate, named Taiwanchik-Trincher.
That enterprise allegedly laundered tens of millions of dollars from Russia and the Ukraine through Cyprus shell companies and bank accounts into the United States.
“Members and associated of the Taiwanchik-Trincher Organization and their co-conspirators worked together on a range of criminal money-making schemes, including operating an international gambling business that catered to oligarchs residing in the former Soviet Union and throughout the world,” the indictment said.
Vadim faces 90 years in prison; Illya, if convicted, could be sentenced to 97 years in prison.
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos said the charges demonstrated the scope and reach of Russian organized crime.
“One of the principal defendants is a notorious Russian ‘thief-in-law’ allegedly directing an international conspiracy through Cyprus to the U.S,” Venizelos said.
“The defendants are alleged to have handled untold millions in illegal wagers placed by millionaires and billionaires, laundered millions and in some cases are themselves multimillionaires.
“Crime pays only until you are arrested and prosecuted.”
In a statement, New York’s police commissioner Ray Kelly said: “The subjects in this case ran high-stakes illegal poker games and online gambling, proceeds from which are alleged to have been funneled to organized crime overseas. The one thing they didn’t bet on was the New York City police and federal investigators’ attention.”
All but four of the accused were arrested by FBI agents Tuesday in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, Detroit and elsewhere.
The other defendants are considered fugitives and are still being sought.
Twelve defendants were charged with racketeering, while others were charged with crimes including money laundering, extortion, fraud and operating illegal poker rooms in Manhattan.
There were also raids at an apartment in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue and a Madison Avenue art gallery owned by two of the alleged mobsters.



NY authorities deal Russian mob a losing hand





NEW YORK (AP) — It's a case teeming with colorful characters: a reputed Russian mob boss once accused in an Olympic scandal, a wealthy art world impresario who hung out with Leonardo DiCaprio and a woman named Molly Bloom who gained a celebrity following by hosting them at high-stakes poker games.
U.S. authorities allege all had roles in a sprawling scheme by two related Russian-American organized crime enterprises. Prosecutors say in recent years the operations laundered at least $100 million in illegal gambling proceeds through hundreds of bank accounts and shell companies in Cyprus and the United States.
The sprawling case against more than 30 defendants, announced this week by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, illustrates the insatiable appetite for sports betting around the globe — and the enormous potential for illicit profits. The steep rise in wealth among the upper class in the former Soviet Union has driven that potential to new heights, said Mark Galeotti, a Russian organized crime expert at New York University.
"We're seeing higher-rolling businessmen involved in these types of cases," Galeotti said. The high rollers' bookies are left with the problem "of trying to figure out what to do with suitcases full of cash, and that leads to the money laundering," he added.
The tentacles of the scheme reached into Trump Tower, the high rise on Fifth Avenue where prosecutors say a U.S. ringleader was living in an apartment one floor below Donald Trump's own place. There, he oversaw a network of Internet sites that formed "the world's largest sports book" that catered "almost exclusively to oligarchs living in the Ukraine and the Russian Federation," prosecutors said.
On one of the thousands of conversations intercepted on the defendants' cellphones, the leader could be heard warning a customer who owed money that "he should be careful, lest he be tortured or found underground," a prosecutor said.
The ring paid Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov — already under indictment in a separate U.S. case accusing him of bribing Olympic figure skating judges at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City — $20 million in gambling proceeds in a two-month period alone, court papers said. In another transaction in late 2010, the same man wired $3 million from a Cyprus bank account to another account in the United States, the papers said.
The new indictment naming Tokhtakhounov called him a "vor" — a term roughly translated to "thief-in-law" and comparable to a Mafia godfather. His role, the papers say, was to use his "substantial influence in the criminal underworld to resolve disputes among criminals."
U.S. investigators following the trans-Atlantic money trail also uncovered a related scheme involving a swank Manhattan art gallery and high-stakes illegal card games in New York City — one played in the Plaza Hotel. The games attracted professional athletes, Hollywood luminaries and business executives, some who ran up debts in the hundreds of thousands.
Authorities didn't name the players. But press reports linked actors like DiCaprio and Ben Affleck to the games run in Los Angeles by Bloom. And DiCaprio has been photographed with Hillel "Helly" Nahmad, a friend charged in the case.
A spokesman for both film stars declined to comment on whether they had been cooperating with authorities. Playing poker isn't a crime, but it's illegal to profit by promoting it.
Nahmad, 35, comes from an art-dealing clan whose collection includes 300 Picassos worth $900 million, according to Forbes. FBI agents on Tuesday raided his gallery on Madison Avenue — a seller of works by Chagall, Dali, Degas, Monet, Matisse and Warhol — and seized computers and records.
Prosecutors allege that, along with laundering tens of millions of dollars, Nahmad committed fraud by trying to sell a piece of art for $300,000 that was worth at least $50,000 less. He also wired more than $1 million from his father's bank account in Switzerland to a U.S. bank account to finance gambling, prosecutor said.
Bloom, 34, moved her poker games from Los Angeles to New York to cater to Wall Street financiers, prosecutors said. But she reportedly went back to the West Coast in 2010 after two men — described as "Eastern European thugs" in one report — roughed her up at her Upper West Side apartment. Her lawyer at the time said she decided give up poker for her own safety.
Both Nahmad and Bloom pleaded not guilty Friday in a federal courtroom in Manhattan that could barely accommodate all the defendants. Bloom, the only woman charged, entered her plea after rising to stand from the back row. Both she and Nahmad remain free on bail.
"We do not believe Mr. Nahmad knowingly violated the law," his attorneys, Benjamin Brafman and Paul Shechtman, said in a statement. "We anticipate that he will be fully exonerated."
Bloom's attorney declined to comment.
A judge set a trial date for the summer of 2014. But there's one defendant no one should bet on being there: the reputed vor.
The 64-year-old Tokhtakhounov has been living in Russia, where media reports call him one of the leaders of the nation's underworld. He has extensive connections among the Russian business and cultural elite, but has shied publicity.
"We know he's certainly leading a comfortable life with vast amounts of money coming his way," Galeotti said. "No one's going to touch him there."



Scion of billionaire art dealer 'organized $50million high-stakes poker ring attended by Leonardo DiCaprio and other stars... with the help of Russian mobsters'
The scion of one of the wealthiest and most powerful families in the art world is accused of working with Russian mobsters to organize a high-stakes poker ring that was frequented by sports stars, celebrities and other mega-rich clients.
Federal agents yesterday raided Helly Nahmad's exclusive gallery in the Carlyle Hotel on New York's posh Madison Avenue. He was expected to turn himself in to authorities in Los Angeles. Celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprop have haunted the poker ring, according to sources.
Nahmad is one of 34 people indicted in a sweeping multi-year federal investigation that stretched from New York to Los Angeles, Miami, Kiev, Ukraine, and Cyprus.
Nahmad, 34, is accused of operating one of two organized gambling rings that specialized in high-stakes poker games hosted at various locations around New York as well as sports betting.
Nahmad is the son of David Nahmad, who is perhaps the most high-profile art dealer and collector in the world, with a fortune estimated at $3billion
The Helly Nahmad Gallery, which is owned by Helly Naham, carries works by the likes of Wassily Kandinsky and Francis Bacon.
The FBI says agents, alongside investigators from the IRS, were searching for ill-gotten profits from the illegal gambling activities.
Nahmad is also accused of wire fraud for allegedly selling a $50,000 painting for $300,000.
According to the New York Post, Nahmad runs in a dizzying social circle of A-list friends, which include supermodel Gisele Bundchen and her football quarterback husband Tom Brady.
Sources told the tabloid that DiCaprio often participated in the high-stakes poker games.
Also indicted is the infamous Russian crime boss Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, nicknamed 'the Little Taiwanese.' Mr Tokhtakhounov is already a fugitive from justice. He was indicted for rigging the figure skating competition at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.
He is a a 'vory v zakone' or 'Vor' - translated as 'thief-in-law' - the highest rank in Russian organized crime networks. Authorities believe he provided protection and backing for the gambling rings. He is believed to be hiding out in Russia.
Tokhtakhounovand and Nahmad are accused of running separate gambling and money laundering rings that worked together.
The FBI says Tokhtakhounovand received $10million payment for his services.
Nahmad's operation allegedly brought in $50million since 2006.
Authorities say he made wire transfers from his Swiss bank accounts to help fund the operation.
His clients include high-profile businessmen, celebrities and sports stars. The FBI is not releasing the names of gamblers.
Debts from the gambling operations ran into hundreds of thousands of dollars. One plumber from the Bronx, New York, was threatened by the alleged mobsters after he ran up a $2million debt in 2010.
The gambling rings also included sophisticated money laundering operations that included a Brooklyn, New York, car repair shop and banks in Cyprus.
In addition to Tokhtakhounovan, three other suspects have evaded capture and are fugitives.
Abraham Mosseri, 40, is wanted for his role in operating an illegal sports bookmaking operation.
Donald McCalmont, 45, is wanted for laundering money through Titan Plumbing, a Bronx company taken over to repay a gambling debt.
William Edler, 49, is wanted for his role in operating an illegal sports bookmaking operation.

About 30 NY not guilty pleas in Russian mob case




NEW YORK (AP) — About 30 people charged in New York with participating in what investigators say was a Russian organized crime operation that included illegal, high-stakes poker games have pleaded not guilty.
The New York Times (http://nyti.ms/179gTLl ) reports the suspects were arraigned Friday in federal court.
Federal authorities say the poker players included pro athletes and Hollywood celebrities but haven't named them.
The money laundering investigation led to arrests Tuesday across the country, including in New York, Los Angeles and Miami.
The newspaper says prosecutors told a judge investigators recorded up to 25,000 phone calls, tapping nine cellphones over four months.
Among those who pleaded not guilty was Hillel Nahmad, of the prominent Helly Nahmad art gallery. Defense lawyer Benjamin Brafman tells the newspaper his client didn't knowingly violate the law.
Trial is set for June 9, 2014.





Russian Mob Organized Poker Game Suspects Plead Not Guilty To Alleged Ilegal High-Stakes Activity



NEW YORK — It's a case teeming with colorful characters: a reputed Russian mob boss once accused in an Olympic scandal, a wealthy art world impresario who hung out with Leonardo DiCaprio and a woman named Molly Bloom who gained a celebrity following by hosting them at high-stakes poker games.
U.S. authorities allege all had roles in a sprawling scheme by two related Russian-American organized crime enterprises. Prosecutors say in recent years the operations laundered at least $100 million in illegal gambling proceeds through hundreds of bank accounts and shell companies in Cyprus and the United States.
The sprawling case against more than 30 defendants, announced this week by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, illustrates the insatiable appetite for sports betting around the globe – and the enormous potential for illicit profits. The steep rise in wealth among the upper class in the former Soviet Union has driven that potential to new heights, said Mark Galeotti, a Russian organized crime expert at New York University.
"We're seeing higher-rolling businessmen involved in these types of cases," Galeotti said. The high rollers' bookies are left with the problem "of trying to figure out what to do with suitcases full of cash, and that leads to the money laundering," he added.
The tentacles of the scheme reached into Trump Tower, the high rise on Fifth Avenue where prosecutors say a U.S. ringleader was living in an apartment one floor below Donald Trump's own place. There, he oversaw a network of Internet sites that formed "the world's largest sports book" that catered "almost exclusively to oligarchs living in the Ukraine and the Russian Federation," prosecutors said.
On one of the thousands of conversations intercepted on the defendants' cellphones, the leader could be heard warning a customer who owed money that "he should be careful, lest he be tortured or found underground," a prosecutor said.
The ring paid Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov – already under indictment in a separate U.S. case accusing him of bribing Olympic figure skating judges at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City – $20 million in gambling proceeds in a two-month period alone, court papers said. In another transaction in late 2010, the same man wired $3 million from a Cyprus bank account to another account in the United States, the papers said.
The new indictment naming Tokhtakhounov called him a "vor" – a term roughly translated to "thief-in-law" and comparable to a Mafia godfather. His role, the papers say, was to use his "substantial influence in the criminal underworld to resolve disputes among criminals."
U.S. investigators following the trans-Atlantic money trail also uncovered a related scheme involving a swank Manhattan art gallery and high-stakes illegal card games in New York City – one played in the Plaza Hotel. The games attracted professional athletes, Hollywood luminaries and business executives, some who ran up debts in the hundreds of thousands.
Authorities didn't name the players. But press reports linked actors like DiCaprio and Ben Affleck to the games run in Los Angeles by Bloom. And DiCaprio has been photographed with Hillel "Helly" Nahmad, a friend charged in the case.
A spokesman for both film stars declined to comment on whether they had been cooperating with authorities. Playing poker isn't a crime, but it's illegal to profit by promoting it.
Nahmad, 35, comes from an art-dealing clan whose collection includes 300 Picassos worth $900 million, according to Forbes. FBI agents on Tuesday raided his gallery on Madison Avenue – a seller of works by Chagall, Dali, Degas, Monet, Matisse and Warhol – and seized computers and records.
Prosecutors allege that, along with laundering tens of millions of dollars, Nahmad committed fraud by trying to sell a piece of art for $300,000 that was worth at least $50,000 less. He also wired more than $1 million from his father's bank account in Switzerland to a U.S. bank account to finance gambling, prosecutor said.
Bloom, 34, moved her poker games from Los Angeles to New York to cater to Wall Street financiers, prosecutors said. But she reportedly went back to the West Coast in 2010 after two men – described as "Eastern European thugs" in one report – roughed her up at her Upper West Side apartment. Her lawyer at the time said she decided give up poker for her own safety.
Both Nahmad and Bloom pleaded not guilty Friday in a federal courtroom in Manhattan that could barely accommodate all the defendants. Bloom, the only woman charged, entered her plea after rising to stand from the back row. Both she and Nahmad remain free on bail.
"We do not believe Mr. Nahmad knowingly violated the law," his attorneys, Benjamin Brafman and Paul Shechtman, said in a statement. "We anticipate that he will be fully exonerated."
Bloom's attorney declined to comment.
A judge set a trial date for the summer of 2014. But there's one defendant no one should bet on being there: the reputed vor.
The 64-year-old Tokhtakhounov has been living in Russia, where media reports call him one of the leaders of the nation's underworld. He has extensive connections among the Russian business and cultural elite, but has shied publicity.
"We know he's certainly leading a comfortable life with vast amounts of money coming his way," Galeotti said. "No one's going to touch him there."

Russian official: Putin foe targeted for probe


MOSCOW (AP) — The spokesman for Russia's chief investigative body says that a criminal probe of a Russian opposition leader was triggered by his fierce public stance, which authorities previously denied.
Lawyer and blogger Alexei Navalny exposed official corruption and spearheaded a series of massive protests in Moscow against Putin's return to the presidency in 2011 and 2012. Navalny, 36, goes on trial on Wednesday on charges of leading an organized crime group that stole timber worth 16 million rubles (about $500,000).

"If a person tries hard to attract attention, or if I can put it, teases authorities — 'look at me, I'm so good compared to everyone else' — well, then one gets more interested in his past and the process of exposing him naturally gets faster," Markin said.

The Investigative Committee ran a probe into Navalny's alleged embezzlement from a state-owned timber company in the Kirov region from 2011 to May 2012, when the case was closed. It was reopened a few months later after the agency's chief publicly harangued investigators for closing that probe.

The Investigative Committee works only with high-profile cases of major violent and economic crimes. The case like Navalny's would normally be handled by local authorities.

Navalny has denied the charges, calling them politically motivated.
In a blog post reacting to Markin's interview, Navalny said the investigator was confused about what the actual charge is. Markin mentioned that Navalny "forced" the timber firm to sell its produce at an artificially low price while the lawyer is charged with stealing the timber.

"This shows that they themselves are confused about how exactly the Investigative Committee is framing the case," Navalny said.


Russia/South Africa: draft resolution on combating transnational organized crime and its links to illicit trafficking in precious metals




Vienna: Russian Federation and South Africa: draft resolution: The Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice recommends to the Economic and Social Council the adoption of the following draft resolution: Combating transnational organized crime and its links to illicit trafficking in precious metals
Alarmed at the growing involvement of organized criminal groups, as well as the substantial increase in the volume, rate of transnational occurrence and range of criminal offences related to illicit trafficking in precious metals,
Alarmed also at the potential use of illicit trafficking in precious metals as a source for funding organized crime and terrorism,
Recalling General Assembly resolution 66/181 of 19 December 2011, entitled “Strengthening the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme, in particular its technical cooperation capacity”, in which the Assembly reaffirmed the importance of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols thereto,
Stressing the need to promote universal adherence to and full implementation of the Organized Crime Convention and the Protocols thereto and other relevant international instruments, as well as the importance of additional cooperation between Member States and private sector entities, as appropriate, to counter transnational organized crime, as identified in various reports of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,
Convinced of the need to develop comprehensive, multifaceted and coherent strategies and measures, including both reactive and preventive measures, to counter such crime,
Emphasizing that all States have a shared responsibility to take steps to counter transnational organized crime, including through international cooperation and in cooperation with relevant entities such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,
Convinced of the importance of partnerships and synergies between Member States, civil society and the private sector, in particular in developing their respective strategies and measures,
Recalling the role of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in crime prevention and criminal justice responses to transnational organized crime and, in particular, illicit trafficking in precious metals, as well as the role of the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute,
Recalling Economic and Social Council resolution 2012/19 of 26 July 2012, entitled “Strengthening international cooperation in combating transnational organized crime in all its forms and manifestations”, and Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice resolution 19/1 of 21 May 2010, entitled “Strengthening public-private partnerships to counter crime in all its forms and manifestations”, in which the importance of further developing public-private partnerships was stressed,
Taking into account the Salvador Declaration on Comprehensive Strategies for Global Challenges: Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Systems and Their Development in a Changing World, in which Member States recognized the importance of strengthening public-private partnerships in preventing and countering crime in all its forms and manifestations,
Mindful of the links that may exist between illicit trafficking in precious metals, transnational organized crime and terrorism, as well as the need for further research and cooperation to address that issue,
1. Encourages Member States to take appropriate measures to prevent and combat transnational organized crime and its links to illicit trafficking in precious metals, including the adoption, where appropriate, of the necessary legislation for the prevention, investigation and prosecution of illicit trafficking in precious metals;
2. Calls upon Member States to fully utilize the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in combating transnational organized crime and its links to illicit trafficking in precious metals, in that regard calls upon Member States that have not done so to consider becoming parties to the Convention, and calls for the Convention’s full and effective implementation by States parties;
3. Requests the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to invite Member States and interested international organizations, including regional organizations, to share their experiences with other Member States and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime on the possible gaps and vulnerabilities faced in tackling transnational organized crime and, in particular, its links to illicit trafficking in precious metals;
4. Calls upon the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, with the support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, to conduct a comprehensive study on the links between transnational organized crime and illicit trafficking in precious metals;
5. Invites Member States and other donors to provide extrabudgetary resources for those purposes, in accordance with the rules and procedures of the United Nations;
6. Requests the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to report to the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice at its twenty-fourth session on the implementation of the present resolution.

A criminal's caper has Russians shaking their heads





Police corruption is suspected in the arrest and subsequent escape of Igor Lovygin, a fugitive who was accompanying his daughter's coffin to the country.
•           MOSCOW — The Russian underworld calls him "Sportsman" for his physical strength and stamina. Police identify him as "High-Tech" because of his allegedly ingenious ways of stealing luxury cars.
Now Igor Lovygin has captivated Russia for daring behavior this week apparently motivated by the accidental death of one of his young daughters, who drowned during a family vacation in Dubai.
Lovygin, 36, the reputed leader of the country's most brazen car theft gang and a murder suspect wanted by authorities, accompanied his daughter's coffin to Russia, was arrested at Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, and then escaped from officers Wednesday night after being transferred to
Lovygin remained at large Friday, with authorities offering little explanation about how he got away. They have said that three officers were moving him from one vehicle to another en route to a detention center when a sport utility vehicle carrying several men pulled up and whisked him away.
"He escaped in transit," Igor Odushko, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry North-West Directorate, told the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily. "We are trying to establish his whereabouts now."
The incident left Russians again suspicious of police corruption, which is seen as rampant based on a history of cases involving protection rackets, prostitution, drug trafficking and gambling. Some speculated that help from authorities was the only way someone like Lovygin, whose criminal record includes four prison terms, could have remained at large and then disappeared again without a shot being fired.
Gennady Gudkov, a former KGB officer and ex-deputy chief of the lower house of parliament's security committee, said the escape illustrated the sorry state of the Russian police.
"I have no doubt that corruption was a key factor in the escape," Gudkov said in an interview. "Our policemen excel at taking bribes, at protecting businesses on the side, at brutally dispersing a peaceful opposition rally, but they are incapable of protecting citizens from crime."
Police consider Lovygin, a resident of St. Petersburg, one of Russia's criminal elite. His alleged specialty, car theft, ranks as one of the leading crimes in a country where professional criminals have long divided illegal business enterprises.
The racket authorities say is run by Lovygin, a former car alarm engineer, purportedly employs the best of those skilled at extreme driving. The gang is equipped with $50,000 alarm scanners, uses fast and powerful BMW-X6 vehicles and protects its alarm breakers and drivers with boxers armed with guns, according to the Fontanka.ru news agency.
A police source described Lovygin as an intelligent but daring thief "with good manners," Fontanka.ru reported.
But in a special report, Vesti FM radio said Lovygin was an impudent and daring gangster who once broke a window and jumped out of a police station's upper floor in an escape attempt.
Lovygin is reportedly a suspect in two killings. In 2001, a German businessman who allegedly was romantically involved with Lovygin's first wife disappeared. A few years later, a fitness instructor from the St. Petersburg region who Lovygin reportedly believed was seeing his second wife also disappeared.
Alexander Gurov, former chief of the Russian Interior Ministry's organized crime department, said the Lovygin case looked like a movie that had not yet reached its climax.
"I have so many questions now, including how the gangsters knew where he was taken and why the police didn't use the firearms they had, " Gurov said. "You shouldn't treat and escort a gangland lord like a bum!"
Gurov said police should look for Lovygin to try to attend his daughter's funeral, which is expected to be held this weekend.
"If he dared to come back to Russia with her coffin, he must be there to pay her the last rites," Gurov said. "To continue a movie analogy, I would expect him to come to the funeral and turn himself in, saying that he escaped only to be able to throw a handful of dust into his daughter's grave like a good father, which he thinks he is by his standards."



Syrian Rebels Funded by Afghan Drug Sales - Russia



MOSCOW, April 11 (RIA Novosti) - About 20,000 mercenaries fighting in Syria are financed by the proceeds of Afghan drug trafficking, Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service director Viktor Ivanov said on Thursday.
“Transnational organized crime groups can ensure an inflow of a huge number of criminals and mercenaries from certain countries to any part of the world with proceeds from heroin sales,” Ivanov said, but did not provide any evidence to back his claims.
“Thus between 15,000 and 20,000 mercenaries are concentrated in Syria, who are destabilizing the situation in that country,” he added.
Transnational criminal groups, not the Taliban, pose the greatest threat in Afghanistan, he said.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said earlier this month Syria is turning into a “center of attraction” for international terrorists as the ongoing civil war between rebels and government forces continues.
Last year, the Syrian government submitted to the UN Security Council lists of hundreds of foreign nationals killed fighting against government troops in Syria.
About 70,000 people have died in Syria since the start of the uprising against President Bashar Assad in March 2011, according to UN figures




Syrian Rebels Funded by Afghan Drug Sales - Russia



MOSCOW, April 11 (RIA Novosti) - About 20,000 mercenaries fighting in Syria are financed by the proceeds of Afghan drug trafficking, Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service director Viktor Ivanov said on Thursday.
“Transnational organized crime groups can ensure an inflow of a huge number of criminals and mercenaries from certain countries to any part of the world with proceeds from heroin sales,” Ivanov said, but did not provide any evidence to back his claims.
“Thus between 15,000 and 20,000 mercenaries are concentrated in Syria, who are destabilizing the situation in that country,” he added.
Transnational criminal groups, not the Taliban, pose the greatest threat in Afghanistan, he said.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said earlier this month Syria is turning into a “center of attraction” for international terrorists as the ongoing civil war between rebels and government forces continues.
Last year, the Syrian government submitted to the UN Security Council lists of hundreds of foreign nationals killed fighting against government troops in Syria.
About 70,000 people have died in Syria since the start of the uprising against President Bashar Assad in March 2011, according to UN figures




The Legal System, Corporate Raiding, and Organized Crime in Russia



by Aaron Beitman

 Like any rational economic actor, organized crime groups seek to maximize utility, namely profits.  That said, the costs that organized crime groups are prepared to face in the process of obtaining profits are quite different than those of an ordinary firm.  Costs might include committing murder or assault, facing death, lengthy prison sentences, and assets confiscation by the state, among others.  While growth is uneven across the Russian economy, certain sectors, such as real estate and transportation continue to attract investment.  Unfortunately, growth industries also attract, unsurprisingly, the attention of organized crime groups.

 What factors exacerbate the impact of organized crime on the Russian economy?  Writing in The John Marshall Law Review, TraCCC Director Louise Shelley notes that the problem of organized crime in Russia’s economy is exacerbated by the absence of appropriate legal frameworks.  Moreover, Thomas Firestone, Resident Legal Advisor at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow adds that legacies from the Soviet legal system have created conditions for weak property rights protections and even the use of legal means for property expropriation.
 Contemporary examples abound illustrating how Russia’s legal system can work counterproductively for growth in the country’s economy.  Tatyana Kvasnikova, a graduate student in law and criminology at Far East Federal University in Vladivostok, explores these topics in research supported by a grant for junior scholars from TraCCC’s Saratov Center.  In particular, Kvasnikova highlights the problem of corporate raiding in the real estate and transportation sectors, which is often accomplished through exploitation of the legal system.  Corporate raiding in the real estate sector, as well as in other areas of the Russian economy, is executed only with the assistance of a variety of government officials as well as skilled lawyers and accountants.  In her report, Kvasnikova provides a number of case studies illustrating the extent of organized crime activity in the real estate and transportation sectors.  One of these cases is described below.

 The corporate raid on OOO OGAT, a transport company based in Russia’s Far East, came as a surprise to authorities, given that the company controlled 17 hectacres of land valued at $17 million, 70 large transport vehicles otherwise unobtainable in the regime, as well as 16 buildings.  Official records indicated that OOO OGAT’s yearly tax contribution was estimated at $750,000.  SPARK-INTERFAX, a Russian news firm, reported that the company made profits of $8.3 million in 2007, before the corporate raiding attack on OOO OGAT began.

 According to official documents, the leader of the criminal group which illegally took over OOO OGAT was a resident of Vladivostok, Dmitrii Sanzharov, the son of a former regional court judge.  The hierarchy and organization of responsibilities in this criminal organization was highly precise.  All operatives were divided into groups, each of which was governed by a clearly defined communication structure.  Operational groups included security and economic divisions, the latter of which had as members a number of prominent local entrepreneurs.  Group operatives employed a variety of sophisticated technical and informational technology methods to falsify documents and to collect intelligence on targets.  In addition, operatives conducted “false-flag” operations aimed at discrediting competing organized crime groups.  However, the key operatives in the capture of OOO OGAT were those belonging to the group’s legal team.

 Sanzharov’s legal team was tasked with supporting corporate raiding activities in the courts and other state agents, basically to provide a veneer of legality.  With respect to the illegal takeover of OOO OGAT, the legal team’s main goal was to obtain and manipulate key company documents.  The key figure in the organized crime group’s legal team was Vitalii Beregovskii, who had made a name for himself as a local anti-corruption crusader.  Taking advantage of a major conflict between OOO OGAT’s owners, Beregovskii secured the right to represent one of the parties to the conflict.  In January 2008, Beregovskii then manuevered to have an individual loyal to the organized crime group elected as chair of OOO OGAT’s board of directors, while one of the company’s founders, Igor Oganesyan, was given responsibilities that made him of particular interest to Sanzharov’s group.

 In March and April 2008, members of Sanzharov’s group stole a number of key documents from OOO OGAT’s headquarters, the falsification of which later facilitated the sale of most of the company’s key assets.  In May 2008, the group initiated a violent attack on Oganesyan, in which documents verifying Oganesyan’s rights as a founder of OOO OGAT were stolen.
 Konstanin Radchuk, a lawyer representing OGAT in a number of legal proceedings, attempted to deflect the attacks on the company, successfully winning a case in the regional arbitrage court which found changes made to the company’s founding documents to be illegal.  At this point, the raiders decided that it was time to begin selling off the company’s assets to third parties.  In September 2008, representatives of the organized crime group went to the Federal Registration Service office in Vladivostok, but were refused in their request to change to the legal status of the company.  The reason for the refused request was that Radchuk had identified the raiders and provide the Federal Registration Service with documents confirming the illegality of the raiders activities.

 Unfortunately for a number of individuals involved, Sanzharov’s group did not take kindly to efforts aimed at slowing their profiteering.  Members of the organized crime group subsequently planned a violent attack on the Federal Registration Service official who refused their request to change OOO OGAT’s legal status.  The group also beat to death Dmitrii Baev, the head of the economic crimes division of a district investigative committee looking into the case, as well as Baev’s father.  In May 2009, the group completed its revenge upon Igor Oganesyan, murdering him outside the elevator in his apartment building.  The group, however, was unable to revenge itself on Radchuk.

 At the moment, authorities have detained eleven members of Sanzharov’s group, though Sanzharov himself remains at large, albeit with an international warrant for his arrest.  Law enforcement officials have apparently confiscated eight heavy weapons, three weapon silencers,  ammunition, and twenty sticks of TNT.  Additional investigations have implicated Sanzharov’s group in organized crime activities in a number of other regions of Russia.
 Although Sanzharov’s group was unable to complete their goal of capturing and selling off all of OOO OGAT’s assets, the group’s skilled manipulation of the Russian legal system is highly disturbing.  That Sanzharov’s group was able to get as far as they did before being halted by OOO OGAT lawyer Konstanin Radchuk’s effective intervention suggests that significant changes to Russian business law are in order.