Ukraine’s National Police have arrested alleged mafia boss Yevhen Anisimov, who has been wanted for six years on numerous charges mainly related to extorting money from businesses in the Zaporizhzhya region located in the southeastern part of the country.
Anisimov, 44, was apprehended in the capital Kyiv on February 16 by an elite police unit and taken to Zaporizhzhya where he was allegedly engaged in shaking down businesses during the truncated presidential term of Viktor Yanukovych between 2010 and early 2014.
He is facing charges of creating an organized crime group, extortion, property theft, money laundering, and the illegal use of firearms.
One of his alleged victims, Yevhen Chernyak, owner of a leading Ukrainian vodka producer based in Zaporizhzhya, rejoiced at the news of the alleged criminal's arrest on Facebook.
The owner of Global Spirits has accused Anisimov of trying to take over his business 10 years ago and called him the "mafia enforcer" for Yanukovych in the Zaporizhzhya region.
Chernyak said a close associate of the alleged criminal gave him up to authorities.
Anisimov was on an international wanted list and his last hideout was in Koncha-Zaspa, a wooded district in northwestern Kyiv that is home to many summer cottages, health resorts, and children's camps, said Deputy Interior Minister Anton Herashchenko.
Another alleged victim of extortion in Zaporizhzhya, money-transfer company owner Yuriy Komisarov, told RFE/RL in 2013 that the suspected underworld boss offered to split cash proceeds with the entrepreneur as well shares in his company.
During much of Yanukovych’s presidency, local city and regional officials in Zaporizhzhya denied Anisimov was a “criminal kingpin” and instead was “an example of a socially responsible businessman and a prominent philanthropist.”
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