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Notorious criminal leader assassinated in Moscow

January 17, 2013, 11:24 UTC+3

He was a victim of criminal wars and his assassination might lead to large-scale re-distribution of the spheres of influence in the criminal underworld

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Aslan Usoyan /alias Ded Khasan/, 75, one of the most influential criminal bosses in the post-Soviet space, was shot and killed by a sniper in central Moscow on Wednesday. He was a victim of criminal wars and his assassination might lead to large-scale re-distribution of the spheres of influence in the criminal underworld. Police are looking for the persons who ordered the hit among criminal leaders.

The newspaper Vechernyaya Moskva notes that the Usoyan assassination had been prepared much according to the same pattern as the murder of his friend Vyacheslav Ivankov /Yaponchik/. Usoyan was leader of Russia's largest criminal community. His name was always linked to intrigues within the criminal underworld.

According to Moscow criminal police who specialize in combating organized crime, the Stary Faeton restaurant where Usoyan was gunned down, was "his favorite place, ad his de-facto reception office." Aslan Usoyan dined here daily and held business negotiations and meetings. The restaurant was probably the only place where it was possible to approach the criminal boss within shooting range. After surviving the previous assassination attempt on his life Usoayn considerably tightened his personal security and moved around the city in a motorcade of four armed cars, accompanied by a couple of dozen of armed security guards. He stayed overnight in a well-protected mansion near the town of Lyubertsky, Moscow region.

The main lead is a conflict over the redistribution of the spheres of influence between criminal groups. An acknowledged expert in the field of fighting organized crime, former State Duma lawmaker, retired Lt-Gen Alexander Gurov supports this version. "Khasan's death is a result of war between the clans of the criminal leaders who are mostly of Georgian descent," the Kommersant quoted him as saying.

Lawyer Mark Kruter, who had defended for many years another notorious criminal leader Vyasheslav Ivankov /Yaponchik/, agrees with this opinion. The newspaper reminds that Yaponchik died in similar circumstances. Lawyer Kruter believes there is a connection between the murders of Yaponchik and Ded Khasan, who were close friends. In the struggle for the spheres of influence, the two criminal leaders came out together against young Georgian mafia bosses, he said.

The Kommersant sources close to the investigation confirm this information. They said police are checking mafia bosses Dzhemal Mikeladze /Dzhemo/ and Rovshan Dzhaniyev /Rovshan Lenkoransky/ for involvement in the assassination plot. According to police information, Ded Khasan and these young criminal leaders had long been in acute conflict because of disagreements over control over the income the criminal underworld derives in Moscow and southern regions, including Sochi.

Beginning from the summer of 2011, the conflict escalated to open war between gangsters, which claimed the lives of dozens of gang leaders. An overwhelming majority of experts believe that Ded Khasan's death will aggravate the sanguinary conflict which will result in a large-scale redistribution of the spheres of influence in the criminal underworld not only in Russia, but also in other countries in the post-Soviet space.

Russian law-enforcement bodies believe that the response to Ded Khasan's murder will come soon. Despite Usoyan's death, his criminal clan remains most powerful in the post-Soviet space. The Moskovsky Komsomolets writes that Azerbaijani criminal leader Rovshan Dzhaniyev, also known as Rovshan Lenkoransky, is believed to be one of the possible masterminds behind the assassination. Ded Khasan himself blamed him for the September 6 ,2010 assassination attempt, although many thought Ded Khasan's arch enemy Tariel Oninai was involved.


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