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Russian Police Detain Man Suspected In 2009 Killing Of Notorious Crime Boss

Crime boss Vyacheslav Ivankov was killed in 2009.
Crime boss Vyacheslav Ivankov was killed in 2009.

Russian police have detained a person suspected of being involved in the 2009 high-profile killing of Russia's most notorious crime boss, Vyacheslav Ivankov, also known as Yaponchik (The Little Japanese).

Investigative Committee spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko said on February 6 that Murtaz Shadania has been charged with murder and the possession of an illegal weapon.

Petrenko said Shadania is suspected of tracking Ivankov's movements and providing a specialized weapon to a gunman who on July 28, 2009, wounded Ivankov as he left a Moscow restaurant.

The 69-year-old crime boss died about three months later from the wounds he suffered in the attack.

Georgia-born Ivankov was a professional criminal and a crowned "thief in law," a title traditionally given among criminal groups in former Soviet republics to kingpins.

Shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, he was unexpectedly released from a prison in Russia where he had been serving a 14-year prison term for illegal firearm possession, forgery, and drug trafficking.

In March 1992, Ivankov moved to the United States where he was arrested in 1995 and sentenced to 10 years on charges of extortion, fraud, and illegally entering the country.

He was extradited to Russia after spending almost 10 years in the U.S. prison system and tried and acquitted on murder charges in Moscow.

Ivankov was buried on October 13, 2009, at Moscow's Vagankovo cemetery, the resting place of many notable Soviet and Russian luminaries. The funeral was widely covered by media as hundreds of kingpins representing criminal syndicates from all over the former Soviet Union attended.

Ivankov's assassination is thought to have been part of an ongoing gang war between Ivankov's close associate, Moscow's notorious crime boss Aslan Usoyan, also known as Ded Khasan (Grandfather Khasan), and Georgian crime boss Tariel Oniani.

Usoyan, a Georgia-born 75-year-old organized-crime figure, was similarly shot dead by a sniper while leaving a Moscow restaurant in January 2013.

With reporting by Interfax and TASS

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