LASHA SHUSHANASHVILI: GEORGIAN THIEF IN LAW wanted in Spain for OCG + money laundering
Lasha Shushanashvili (aka: Lasha Rustavsky)
At that time, the police had intended to detain Lasha Shushanashvili as well, but he has absconded. Only in January 2012, he was arrested in Greece with a fake passport by a European warrant issued by Spain. Madrid had accused Shushanashvili of leading a criminal group, money laundering, and an assassination attempt committed in 2009 – however, Lasha was not extradited to Spain. He was sentenced in Greece to 14 years behind bars – and served the term in a comfortable apartment located on the prison grounds, with a personal chef and unlimited communication with the outside world. In summer 2015, Lasha Rustavsky was reportedly seen in Moscow.
BACKGROUND: Lasha Shushanashvili, thief in law
Shushanashvili Lasha was born in 1961 in Georgia.
His underworld nicknames are “Lasha Tolsty”, “Lasha Rustavsky”.
Shushanashvili was “thief in law” as early as 1970. He was imprisoned at the age of18 for the first time, and then he has spent behind bars for more than 11 years in total.
He has business interests in Moscow. They say he controls the following projects: Altufievsky area, Lianozovo, Polezhaevskaya subway station area, “Octyabrskoe pole”, Mnevniki area. He specializes in medium-sized businesses, commerce, bag snatchers.
He has a serious influence in the higher political circles of Georgia and Ukraine.
Recently Lasha Shushanashvili appeared in the view field of major Russian media for the first time, in 2006. This was due to the relatively non-serious episode: the staff of the Kirov UBOP detained “kingpin” Vadim Sabrekov, known in the criminal world as Cheburashka. The authority was accused of poaching: according to investigators, he went fishing illegally on the Vyatka and caught 40 kg of fish. According to law enforcement agencies, “thief in law” Sabrekov together with other representatives poached on the river Vyatka “net fish unlawfully, by prior agreement with a group of people ” and caught about 40 kg of fish booked in the Red Book. May 12, he was charged under Part 3. 256 of the Criminal Code (“Illegal hunting of aquatic animals and plants”).
In connection with this story, journalists noted that Vadim Sabrekov got impact in the penal colony due to familiarity with the “thieves in law” Lashoy Rustavi (Lasha Shushanashvili) and Gera Kozovskih. In 1995-1996, after the last “raid” he became “an observer” in Kirov by their referral; in 1997, he got crowned as the “thief in law”.
Some time after the arrest Vadim Sabrekov was released on parole.
Since 2006 Lasha Shushanashvili was a key figure in the struggle between two main clans of the Georgian “thieves in law” – Ded Hassan and Tariel Oniani, when “thief in law” Zachary Kalashev (Shakro) was arrested in the UAE and extradited to Spain later. In Spain, he was charged of money laundering, tax evasion and other crimes. The clan of Aslan Usoyan temporarily put “kingpin” Lasha Shushanashvili to manage the business empire of the “criminal general”. But this turn of events did not suit another criminal clan, led by Tariel Oniani.
Tariel Oniani had been working for several years to discredit Lasha among the members of thieves “elite” and then proceeded to take decisive action.
In April 2008, at one of the gatherings the supporters of Oniani “uncrowned” Lasha by accusing him of excessive enthusiasm for commerce, as well as a deviating the thievish traditions. After that the “thieves in law” got divided into two warring camps, which waged a bitter struggle.
In summer 2008, the police detained 50 participants of the gathering arranged by Oniani in Pirogovskoe reservoir in Moscow . Shortly thereafter, Lasha Shushanashvili was detained in the Moscow Barvikha, then he was extradited from the country. And in November 2008 an attempt to restaurateur Gela Tsertsvadze was made; he was considered the right-hand man of Tariel Oniani. Some analysts linked the crime to Shushanashvili.
Oniani himself got in jail on June 10, 2009. Moscow Criminal Intelligence officers arrested him on suspicion of kidnapping.
Next time Shushanashvili appealed interest of journalists in connection with his detention in autumn 2008. He was detained by law enforcement officers in an elite residential area not far from the little village of Barvikha. Employees of the Russian Interior Ministry Main Department of the Central Federal District (CFD) deported Lasha Shushanashvili from the country.
“To detain Shushanashvili, operatives had to disarm 10 of his guards first”, the police clarified. On the next day the court found that the detainee had illegally entered the country. According to the law enforcement agencies, he received the citizenship documents of Russia illegally.
The police refused to name the country where they sent Shushanashvili, but according to unofficial information, “kingpin” was sent to Ukraine. He has been denied to entry into the territory of Russia over the next five years.
In early 2009, the clan of Ded Hassan moved into a decisive offensive. Thus journalists explained the fact that lawyers of Shushanashvili managed to attain issue of documents by the Federal Migration Service (FMS) authorizing his entry into Russia. As a result, the authority came to Moscow.
Then a number of thieves in law, initially supporting Tariel Oniani, “went cap in hand” to Ded Hasan. In particular, the thief in the law Jemal Khachidze did so. And in June this year Tariel Oniani has been detained in Moscow on charges of kidnapping. That criminal war has had an unequivocal winner, though influential gangsters never forgive such grievances.
In March 2009, the journalists once again remembered Shushanashvili. It happened due to another loud detention – the capital police detained the criminal authority Gia Gurchiani, who is a member of mafia clan by Tariel Oniani.
According to police, at that time Gurchiani was the representative of Sukhumi “thievish family”, a member of the clan by kingpin Tariel Oniani. It is noteworthy that even before becoming a “thief”, Gurchiani had been inclined to the opposite pole of the Georgian “thieves world”. Gia strongly courted the brother of Lasha Shushanashvili,Kaha and his closest helper – a “thief” Koba Rustavskoy, in order to get a “crown” and “name”. However, those did not hurry to take Gurchiani into their fraternal circle, and Gia realized that he was wasting his time.
Later Lasha Shushanashvili himself created another newsmaker. In the summer of 2009 Russia”s Supreme Court upheld a “closed” decision by Director of Federal Migration Service, Konstantin Romodanovsky about recognition of the “kingpin” Lasha Shushanashvili, nicknamed Rustavsky Lasha, to be persona non grata in Russia. Lawyers of Shushanashvili, who was in Moscow at that time, already promised that they would defend the rights of their client in the Strasbourg court.
The fight for the “kingpin”s” right to be in Russia had been going on in the courts of different instances since the autumn of 2008, as soon as he had been deported from the country. During the numerous processes details of the operation of Russian law enforcement bodies against Shushanashvili have become known. According to Rosbalt, even in the summer of 2008, the General Directorate officers for the MIA in the Central Federal District transferred materials to the Federal Migration Service in Moscow, which indicated that the “thief in law” had obtained Russian citizenship illegally.
In particular, there was a letter from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia reporting on Shushanashvili had a citizenship of that country as well (he concealed the fact when obtaining the Russian passport). Also, the operatives provided the results of examination of the Lasha”s card for applying the RF citizenship, which demonstrated that he had not filled it personally, which is forbidden.
Department of the Federal Migration Service appealed to the Zamoskvoretsky court of the capital, and on August 27, 2008 it decided (hearings were held in the absence of the “kingpin”) that Shushanashvili “reported false information to acquire the citizenship of Russia”, thus, he became Russian illegally. However, Lasha still had an official registration in Moscow, so on September, 8 FMS deprived it also on the basis of the decision of the Zamoskvoretsky court. Thus the “thief in law” became an illegal migrant.
After the events in South Ossetia, deportation to Georgia became impossible, on this reason Shushanashvili was flown to Armenia, where from he had flown to Russia at once. He was forbidden to appear in Russia for five years.
Lawyers of the “thief in law” immediately began struggling for his return to Moscow. As a result, on November, 13 the Moscow City Court made the ruling indicating that the Zamoskvoretsky court had erroneously considered Lasha to be the citizen of Georgia, since he was stripped of his citizenship of the country in 2006, according to the order of Mikheil Saakashvili. Accordingly, as the Moscow City Court noted, there was no reason to make the decision to deport “kingpin” in Georgia.
In addition, Shushanashvili did not know that he was deprived the Russian citizenship and registration, and therefore could not get registered in the Migration Service within the statutory deadlines. Moreover, the Moscow City Court referred to the European Convention “on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms”, which prohibits forced separation of the family members, meanwhile Lasha had wife and two young children in Moscow, citizens of Russia. The Moscow City Court quashed the decision on recognition Shushanashvili guilty of administrative violation (and, of course, decision to deport him), and sent the case for reconsideration in the Zamoskvoretsky court.
So the “thief in law” had an opportunity to return to Russia, but not for a long time. On February, 2 FMS Director Konstantin Romodanovsky signed a ruling about the undesirability of Shushanashvili”s stay in Russia as a person who “poses a real threat defense capability or national security or public order, in order to protect the constitutional order.” He became persona non grata due to information provided by intelligence services constituting a state secret and marked as ”secret”. In fact, it was no longer just about the influential “thief in law”, but the criminal leader, closely associated with Georgia, which was on unfriendly terms with Russia.
Journalists also reported that the story with Shushanashvili had developed during a silent struggle with Saakashvili; then Georgians with a weight in business, politics and the criminal world got ousted from Russia,
Press expressed became interested in Shushanashvili in July 2009 after the murder of mafia boss Vyacheslav Ivankov (Jap), occurred in Moscow on July, 28. In this regard, it was reported that an attempt to Ivankov became a culmination of a protracted confrontation between the two mafia clans, i.e. the lawyers of Aslan Usoyan and Tariel Oniani; Jap took an active part in that. Ivankov supported Usoyan and his closest associate – kingpin Lashu Shushanashvili (Lasha Rustavsky) – in the confrontation .
“Lasha and Ivankov had been very close to each other as they occurred to be on one side of the fence,” those people familiar with Shushanashvili said. According to him, in addition to common interests like combating Oniani, Ivankov allegedly had been favoring legal business, while Lasha had a great experience in handling commercial cases.
In early 2010, journalists became interested in Shushanashvili in connection with presidential elections in Ukraine. There are reports that were the thieves of Georgian origin – Lasha Shushanashvili and Gia Hmelidze – had been brought by the Georgian authorities to effect the presidential elections in Ukraine. The Ukrainian media reported on this.
In particular,they issued a record of the talks by Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Defence and National Security George (Givi) Targamadze with some Konstantin, speaking about Lasha and Gia who could have interfered the process of accreditation of the Georgian observers.
In the interview to “Maestro” Manana Nachkebia (“Novye Pravye”) stated that those individuals were Lasha Shushanashvili and Gia Hmelidze.
According to the newspaper “Resonansi”, Gia Hmelidze had big enough influence in Donetsk. In an interview with the same edition the conservative opposition leader Kakha Kukava said that Targamadze “had a business” in Ukraine, “covering” the thieves in law. He said that i, Georgian Ambassador to Ukraine Grigol Katamadzen had been involved in corrupt transactions.
Giving an interview to “Maestro” Member of the Georgian Parliament from the “United National Movement” Lasha Tordia called the released records a performance organized by FSB” and “a provocation”.
The next time Shushanashvili fell within the scope of journalistic interest in connection with the arrest of his brother Kakhaber Shushanashvili. Journalists wrote that the Spanish police had launched another large-scale operation “Java” against the representatives of the Russian criminals in March 2010. 69 people were arrested in Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, Austria. All of them were suspected of involvement in transnational criminal networks. Among those falling behind bars there was the alleged leader of the community Kakhaber Shushanashvili, the brother of one of the most influential Russian “mafia bosses” – Shushanashvili Lasha (Lasha Rustavsky).
Kakhaber, like other detainees, was charged for trafficking, illegal weapons possession, drug trafficking and money laundering.
A source of the Interior Ministry of Georgia, who requested anonymity, said that the operation of European intelligence services was not unexpected for Georgian law enforcement agencies: “According to our data, a significant number of so-called” thieves in law” – at least those who failed to live in Russia – lives in Spain and some other European countries. We have repeatedly reported this to our colleagues. Now we will insist on their extradition. ”
The police found Shushanashvi thanks to unexpected help of Tbilisi “thief in law” Shakro Kalash, who had been released two weeks before that from Spanish jail on bail of 300 thousand euros. Special services managed to monitor his telephone conversations and to trace Shushanashvili and other Georgian mafia bosses.
as the Spanish police announced on Tuesday, Lasha was supposed to be detained during the operation in the territory of Greece. However, he managed to mysteriously escape, and then Spaniards accused the Greek authorities. According to them, “kingpin” had been warned about the arrest and he went straight from under the nose of the Greek police.
According to Radio Liberty, they found out that the money had been gathered in Barcelona from illegal activities held in Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Switzerland and other countries; and the alleged leader of group 38-year-old Kakhaber Shushanashvili lived there. They suspected that Shushanashvili controlled the criminal activities of Georgian immigrants Europe.
Representative of the Spanish police, Juan Ramon Iglesias told the radio station, that investigators had been following the actions of detainees over a year. Referring to the investigation, Spanish media noted that in the intercepted telephone conversations those arrested boasted that “they had captured the whole Europe.” This week they will be questioned by an investigator of the National Court of Justice of Spain, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, he runs the operation “Java”.
One of the leaders of the Mafia Kakhaber Shushanashvili was caught as well. According to investigation, of Shushanashvili conduct the “cash” of the criminal group, he was also in charge of all criminal proceeds of their accomplices.
According to Spanish investigators, Kakhaber Shushanashvili led all the European branch of the group. According to the decision of Judge Fernando Grande-Marlaska, Kakhaber Shushanashvili was among those who were sent to the detention cells.
Brother of Kakhaber, Lasha Shushanashvili who is believed to be the leader of the entire group, according to Spanish law enforcement authorities, escaped in Greece because of the negligence of the local police. The version of the Spanish law enforcement authorities is that he may be hiding in Northern Greece.
On the eve, the head of department to combat corruption of the Prosecutor”s office in Spain- Antonio Salinas said that Shushanashvili escaped due to the fact there was no necessary cooperation among the security forces of the two countries. According to Salinas, now the location of Lasha Shushanashvili is unknown, the BBC reports.
As the Spainish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalkaba announced on Tuesday, members of the gang supposedly had been stealing jewels and other luxury items, and sent them to Spain, to the group”s base. Then the stolen valuables were transported from Spain to Georgia.
At the end of March 2010, in France, Marseille killers shot the crime boss Vladimir Janashia named Lado. By the basic version of special services, the crime was kind of revenge for the murder of the “father of the Russian mafia”, Vyacheslav Ivankov nicknamed Jap. Assassins had hunted for Lado for a long time.
The suspect of the murder of Lado was the most powerful mafia bosses – brothers Lasha and Kakhaber Shushanashvili. At one time, Jap took the side of Lasha in the conflict between two mafia clans, which had most likely cost him his life.
According to intelligence services data, recently Janashia was forced to live under siege, as the killers began hunting for him immediately after the attack on Jap – in the summer of 2009. The last two weeks he spent under an assumed name in a small house rented in a suburb of Marseilles.
Even before the death of Jap, in September 2009 “Matrosskaya Tishina” received a letter signed by 36 crime bosses, which actually called for the elimination of “lawyer” – Tariel Oniani. In fact, the thieves world ruled a death sentence to Taro.
Simultaneously, in Europe the Shushanashvili brothers launched the hunt for Merab Jangveladze and his closest associate of Vladimir Janashia. However, the Russian law enforcement agencies do not believe that mafia had been primarily guided by noble motives of revenge.
“It is clear that the motive of revenge for the murder of Lado was not the major one; first goes fighting for big money,” one of the Russian operatives said to Rosbalt. According to him, gangsters are fighting for the right to dispose of “collective fund”, which had been gathered by the Russian mafia abroad. After Oniani”s arrest in Russia the major skirmish got unfolded just between Jangveladze, Janashia – on the one side, and Ded Hassan and Shushanashvili brothers – on the other side. But when Zachary Kalash was released in Spain in early 2010 under a large mortgage, the crime fighting escalated.
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