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Georgian Boxer Gets 10 Years Prison For Racketeering

Avtandil Khurtsidze
Avtandil Khurtsidze

Georgian boxer Avtandil Khurtsidze has been sentenced to 10 years in prison by a federal court in New York after being convicted of racketeering and fraud conspiracy.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement after the September 7 sentencing that "thanks to our dedicated law enforcement partners around the globe, Khurtsidze's reign of extortion and violence has been halted."

A jury on June 19 found that Khurtsidze and another defendant, Razhden Shulaya, had engaged in violent criminal activities that included extortion, theft, trafficking in stolen goods, and fraud.

Khurtsidze faced up to 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors said the 39-year-old Khurtsidze was a former middleweight boxing champion who acted as the “heavyweight enforcer" for Shulaya, who was labeled as the chief of an organized criminal gang from the former Soviet Union.

During the trial, prosecutors said Khurtsidze, from the city of Kutaisi, was captured on video twice assaulting people on behalf of Shulaya.

Khurtsidze -- who had a professional record of 33 wins, two losses, and two draws -- had been scheduled to meet Britain's Billy Joe Saunders in a big-money boxing match in July 2017 in London before he was charged in the New York criminal case.

Sentencing for Shulaya, who prosecutors said had set up an elaborate criminal empire in Brooklyn, New York, is scheduled to be announced on September 21.

From 2005-11, Khurtsidze fought in various Ukrainian cities.

Based on reporting by AFP, NBC, and Boxing News Online

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