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Scot Young was hung out of a window by Russian mafia because he owed them millions, friend claims


Friends reveal how Scot Young owed millions to the mafia and was in fear for his life when he fell to his death
Scot Young, the tragic tycoon, who died falling from his fourth storey London flat, owed millions of pounds to the Russian and Turkish mafia and was hung out of a hotel window by gangsters two years ago as a warning, a friend has claimed.
The body of the 52-year-old entrepreneur was discovered impaled on railings beneath his central London apartment on Monday afternoon.
Scotland Yard said it was not treating the death as suspicious, but one of his closest associates has rejected the idea that he would have taken his own life and has said he believes Mr Young was murdered over unpaid debts.
He claimed the father of two, who became embroiled in one of Britain’s costliest and most bitter divorces, was given a warning by the Russian mafia two years ago, when he was hung out of a window at the Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane.
The source said he was warned in no uncertain terms that next time he would be dropped if he did not come up with some money.
The man, who now fears for his own safety, and asked not to be identified, told the Telegraph: “I do not believe for one minute Scot committed suicide, my heart tells me he was killed. There is no way he would have jumped to his death.
“I knew him very, very well, we have been friends for over 20 years. We are all very scared about what might happen. I believe Scot was murdered.”
He went on: “Two years ago he was hung off the balcony of a hotel room at the Dorchester by Russian mafia he owed money to, before he went to prison. He never went back there after that. He owed a lot of money to the wrong sort of people.”
Other friends claimed Mr Young had confided in them as recently as last month, that he feared for his safety.
One source told the Daily Mail: “He was very worried, he said he knew someone was following him. Many of Scot's friends aren't surprised that he died.”
Mr Young, who at his peak was worth an estimated £400 million, claimed to have lost his entire fortune when a vast property deal in Russia, known as Project Moscow, collapsed in 2006.
During his divorce battle with ex-wife Michelle, he told the court that not only had his entire fortune been wiped out, but he had also been left with debts of £30 million.
Last January Mr Young was jailed after refusing to comply with a court order demanding that he reveal the extent of his assets.
While he had been suffering from depression and had twice been sectioned under the Mental Health Act, friends claimed had found happiness in recent years with his American born girlfriend, Noelle Reno, 30.
His friend said: “He was suffering from depression but he would not have done this. He was truly in love Noelle, he had asked her to marry him and they were going to wed next year. He idolised her. She wasn't with him for the money. He would have done anything for her.”



How the Russian mob got into Missouri fish eggs



Call it criminal caviar: Undercover U.S. officials spent two years infiltrating the black market in illegal paddlefish eggs in a sleepy Missouri town.

John Sleezer

A large female paddlefish will carry upwards of nine kilograms of roe. On the black market, 100 grams sells for about $40.
Andrew Praskovsky, a 42-year-old from Colorado, made a pilgrimage to his native Russia every year. But in April 2012, his trip was cut short when U.S. federal agents descended on him at the airport to seize contraband from his luggage.
Their booty?
More than 1.8 kilograms of illegally extracted paddlefish caviar from a sleepy stretch of the Osage River, just downstream from the Harry S. Truman Dam, about a two-hour drive southeast of Kansas City. At the time, the caviar would have fetched more than $2,500 on the retail market, and exponentially more if intentionally mislabelled.
Praskovsky was charged with trafficking and will go on trial in March. He was one of eight men arrested during “Operation Roadhouse,” an investigation led by U.S. Fish and Wildlife that looked more like a high-stakes drug-ring bust, complete with undercover agents.
The operation was the largest of its kind in the U.S., focusing on an area in Warsaw, Mo., known as the Roadhouse. Federal and state investigators set up a fake paddlefish snagging operation meant to target those interested in illegally purchasing fish roe.
The two-year investigation culminated in the issuing of more than 100 state citations relating to illegal and unlicensed paddlefish exploitation. The town of Warsaw, population 2,127, is the self-proclaimed paddlefish capital of the world. It has become the unlikely centre of a black-market trade in paddlefish roe as Caspian sturgeon — the traditional source of high-grade caviar — becomes critically endangered following years of exploitation.
“When the Soviet Union crashed, organized crime groups took advantage of it and became very powerful in the region,” says Yuliya Zabyelina, an assistant professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. The profit funded the arms trade as well as human trafficking in the region.
This unregulated exploitation, however, has led to sturgeon’s near extinction and a moratorium being placed on fishing in the Northern Caspian, forcing these groups to set their sights elsewhere.
Of the eight men arrested, seven were from out of state, and all were originally from Eastern Europe.
American paddlefish — known by locals as spoonbill — is a freshwater species that shares common ancestry with Beluga sturgeon. It occupies slow-moving sections of the Missouri and Mississippi drainage basins.
The Osage River running through Warsaw is a hot spot for poachers because spawning fish are blocked upstream by a dam, dramatically increasing the chance of snagging an egg-bearing female.
Unlike neighbouring Oklahoma, Missouri’s regulations surrounding paddlefish snagging are also more liberal. Anglers are allowed to catch two fish per day during the season and can keep the roe for personal use.
In contrast, “in Oklahoma, folks take their fish to the (conservation) agency, and the agency will harvest the eggs, but keep them and return the prepared fish to the individual fisher and then the agency will sell the eggs,” says Larry Yamnitz of the Missouri Department of Conservation, who was a chief investigator in “Operation Roadhouse.”
Poaching paddlefish for the purpose of commercialization is illegal, as is the transport of paddlefish roe across state lines with the intention of selling it.
Paddlefish roe is attractive to traffickers because it can be processed into caviar similar in colour, size and texture to the prized caviar of the Caspian.
Though paddlefish roe does not fetch much, this changes dramatically when it is processed into caviar — 100 grams sells for about $40 on the black market and retails at more than three times that price. A large female paddlefish will carry upwards of nine kilograms of roe, with a potential value starting at $4,000. This soars when paddlefish caviar is mislabelled.
“The bulk of illegally poached caviar is being exported,” says Greg Conover, a representative of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Officials believe the traffickers repackage paddlefish roe as a higher-grade, more expensive form of caviar.
“We have gathered people with empty caviar tins that are labelled as beluga Russian caviar, so you can put two and two together,” says Yamnitz.
It is sold in the U.S. or shipped to other countries, reaping huge profits that are recycled into other black-market endeavours.
“There is potentially an even greater market for caviar in Russia and Asia than in the U.S.,” says Phaedra Doukakis-Leslie, a professor from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, who has discovered intentionally mislabelled paddlefish roe through genetic sampling.
Exploiting paddlefish in this way points to organization and a “level of sophistication beyond someone going fishing in their backyard,” she says, adding that “it’s being done by people who have thought this out, who are able to get this to the market and who are able to get a good price for it.”
“Wildlife trafficking is a very lucrative business that organized crime groups are utilizing to gain funds. I definitely think any time you have high numbers of illegal trafficking in wildlife that there are ties to some type of organized crime,” says Yamnitz




The Worst Gangster Most People Have Never Heard Of


Christina Sterbenz

Semion MogilovichFBISemion Mogilevich, a known Russian mob boss
Drug trafficking, trading nuclear material, contract murders, and international prostitution — that's how the Federal Bureau of Investigation believes Semion Mogilevich, one of its top 10 most wanted fugitives, has spent his time over the last few decades.
Indicted in 2003 for countless fraud charges, Mogilevich now primarily lives in Moscow. His location allows him to maintain close ties to the Bratva, or The Brotherhood, aka the Russian mob.

The 'Boss Of Bosses'
A 5'6" and a portly chain smoker, Mogilevich is known as "boss of bosses" in one of the biggest mafia states in the world.
Born in 1946 in Kiev, Ukraine, Mogilevich once acted as the key money laundering contact for the Solntsevskaya Bratva, a super-gang based in Moscow. He has since held over 100 front companies and bank accounts in 27 different countries, all to keep the cash flowing.
In 1998, the FBI released a report naming Mogilevich as the leader of an organization with about 250 members. Only in operation only four years, the group's main activities included arms dealing, trading nuclear material, prostitution, drug trafficking, oil deals, and money laundering.
Between 1993 and 1998, however, Mogilevich caught the FBI's attention when he allegedly participated in a $150 million scheme to defraud thousands of investors in a Canadian company, YBM Magnex, based just outside Philadelphia, which supposedly made magnets. With his economics degree and clever lies, Mogilevich forged documents for the Securities and Exchange Commission that raised the company's stock price nearly 2,000%.
When asked about YBM by BBC in 2007, Mogilevich replied: "Well if they found old-fashioned hanky panky [i.e., suspicious activity], it's up to them to prove it. Unfortunately, I don't have access to FBI files."
"What makes him so dangerous is that he operates without borders," said  Special Agent Peter Kowenhoven, who has worked on Mogilevich's case since 1997. "Here’s a guy who managed to defraud investors out of $150 million without ever stepping foot in the Philadelphia area."
In 1998, the Village Voice reported on hundreds of previously classified FBI and Israeli intelligence documents. They placed Mogilevich, also known as "Brainy Don," as the leader of the Red Mafia, a notorious Russian mob family infamous for its brutality. Based in Budapest, members held key posts in New York, Pennsylvania, Southern California, and even New Zealand.
"He's the most powerful mobster in the world," Monya Elison, one of Mogilevich's partners in a prostitution ring, told the Voice. He claimed he's Mogilevich's best friend.

Geopolitical Influence
Arguably one of Mogelivich's most concerning characteristics is his influence in Europe's energy sector. With only a $100,000 bounty on his head, he controls extensive natural gas pipelines in Russia and Eastern Europe.
Right now, Russia supplies about 30% of Europe's gas. Ironically, the country's largest pipeline to the rest of Europe shares a name with the mob — Bratstvo.

Europe Gas
John Wood, a senior anti-money laundering consultant at IPSA International wrote an entire report on Mogelivich. According to his research, the Ukrainian-born Russian mobster had long planned his stake in Europe's gas.
In 1991, Mogilevich started meddling in the energy sector with Arbat International. For the next five years, the company served as his primary import-export petroleum company. Then, in 2002, an Israeli lawyer named Zeev Gordon, who represented Mogilevich for more than 20 years, created Eural Trans Gas (ETG), the main intermediary between Turkmenistan and Ukraine. Some reports show that Gordon registered the company in Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash's name.
After that, Russia’s energy giant Gazprom and Ukraine's Centragas Holding AG teamed up to establish Swiss-registered RosUkrEnergo (RUE) to replace ETG. Firtash and Gazprom reportedly roughly split the ownership of RUE.
In 2010, however, then prime minister of Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko, said she had "documented proof that some powerful criminal structures are behind the RosUkrEnergo (RUE) company," according to WikiLeaks. Even before, the press had widely speculated about Mogilevich's ties to RUE.
Dmitry FirtashReutersDmytro Firtash, one of Ukraine's richest men, (R) and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich take part in an opening ceremony of a new complex for the production of sulfuric acid in Crimea region in April 2012.
Although Firtash has repeatedly denied having any close relationship with Mogilevich, he has admitted to asking permission from the mobster before conducting business in Ukraine as early as 1986, Reuters recently reported. At the request of the FBI, Firtash was arrested in Austria for suspicion of bribery and creating a criminal organization.
Mogilevich may even have a working relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a published conversation between Leonid Derkach, the former chief of the Ukrainian security service, and former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma.
"He's [Mogilevich] on good terms with Putin," Derkach reportedly said. "He and Putin have been in contact since Putin was still in Leningrad."

A Free Man
In 2007, Mogelivich told BBC that his business was selling wheat and grain.
In 2008, however, Russian police arrested Mogelivich, using one of his many pseudonyms, Sergei Schneider, in connection with tax evasion for a cosmetics company, Arbat Prestige. Mogilevich ran that company with his partner, Vladimir Nekrosov. Three years later, the charges were dropped.
Considering the US doesn't have an extradition treaty with Russia, as long as Mogilevich stays within Putin's borders, the "boss of bosses" will likely remain a free man. He's believed to have Russian, Israeli, Ukrainian, and Greek passports.