Sunday, May 31, 2009

Russia’s ‘Al Capone’ sneers at his trial

A ONE-ARMED multi-millionaire, who is alleged to be the last of the Russian crime bosses of the 1990s to stay in business, has gone on trial in Moscow, accused of ordering a botched attempt to murder a rival in his silver Rolls-Royce.

Vladimir Barsukov, 53, who is rumoured to have had links in the past to Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, is also charged with setting up a crime syndicate once seen as the most powerful mafia gang in St Petersburg, the country’s crime capital in the years after the fall of communism.

At the height of his power he had 2,000 foot soldiers under his command, security experts say.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Mobster Trial, and a Flash of a Violent Past

T. PETERSBURG, Russia — Vladimir S. Barsukov has been called St. Petersburg’s “night governor.”

A leader of one of the country’s most powerful criminal syndicates, the one-armed mobster — who has a bullet lodged in his chest from a failed assassination attempt — amassed authority and influence through the bloody gang wars of the 1990s and once rivaled St. Petersburg’s elected leaders for control over Russia’s imperial capital.

Now, Mr. Barsukov is on trial in Moscow, charged with illegal corporate raiding, extortion, fraud and attempted murder, among other crimes. His arrest by itself appears to be a victory for Russian authorities over a remaining vestige of the powerful criminal clans that once held this city hostage at gunpoint.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Requiem For A Godfather

In St. Petersburg they called him the "Nighttime Governor," and the moniker fit.

Throughout the 1990s and for a good part of the current decade, Vladimir Barsukov appeared to be the true ruler of Russia's second city regardless of who was formally in power.

Officially he served since 1998 as vice president of the St. Petersburg Fuel Company. But Barsukov -- who was known as Vladimir Kumarin until he changed his name in the late 1990s just prior to that appointment -- derived his true power as the alleged leader of a highly feared and politically connected criminal gang called the "Tambovskaya gruppirovka" or the Tambov Gang.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Trial of Russian Mobster to Begin

The trial of Vladimir Barsukov (aka Vladimir Kumarin), head of St. Peterburg's most powerful organized crime group, will begin in Moscow this week. Barsukov was arrested in August 2007 at his home outside St. Petersburg in a raid involving dozens of officers from the country's Special Purpose Police Squad. He faces charges of money laundering and the illegal takeover of businesses and properties.

Preliminary hearings are scheduled to begin Thursday. Citing threats to Barsukov's safety, prosecutors filed a motion to have the trial moved from St. Petersburg to Moscow. Barsukov's attorney, however, has fought the move, calling it illegal. Local media have suggested that the reasons behind the relocation could involve an attempt on the part of authorities to shield the trial from public scrutiny.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Case Against Alleged Gang Leader ‘Kumarin’ Sent to Court

The case against local businessman Vladimir Barsukov (a.k.a Kumarin), reportedly one of the former leaders of the Tambov criminal group, who is facing charges of orchestrating and carrying out a series of raids on large St. Petersburg companies and organizations, and other crimes, has been sent to the Vasileostrovsky District Court, the Prosecutor General’s press office said on Monday.

According to a statement posted on Russia’s General Prosecutor’s Office website, Viktor Grin, Russia’s Deputy Prosecutor General, has authorized a summing-up of the case that involves “a string of illegal raids on St. Petersburg enterprises and properties between 2004 and 2006 committed by an organized gang formed by Vladimir Barsukov (Kumarin).”

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Police Detain Suspected Gang Leader

Local businessman Vladimir Barsukov, reportedly one of the former leaders of the Tambov criminal group, has been arrested on suspicion of forming a criminal gang, murder, attempted execution-style contract killing and other crimes, the Prosecutor General’s press-office said on Monday.

Barsukov, who changed his last name from Kumarin in the 1990s, was arrested on Aug. 22 during a special raid carried out by a joint team of law enforcement officers from Moscow and St. Petersburg, prosecutors said. The businessman was then transferred to Moscow’s Lefortovo prison and criminal investigation isolation ward, where he is currently being held.

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