Archive for March 24th, 2012

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Attempted banker assassinations in London and Odessa – Tedious links!

March 24, 2012

Well yesterday saw the attempted assassination of German Gorbuntsov in East London.

Needless to say that whilst gun crime in and around Tower Hamlets is not exactly unknown, suspicion has been directed (rightly or wrongly) at Russia, be it the underworld or the State.  Time will tell which, if indeed there is Russian involvement at all.

Now where organised Russian crime is concerned, Odessa somehow regularly manages to associate itself with it.  That is probably due to the fact that whilst many people have heard of the Russian mafia and even in Moscow the Odessa mafia has a particularly robust reputation, very few realise they are one and the same.  They are a fluid,  autonomous, but occasionally robustly united set of people.  Suffice to say it is no coincidence that when the heat is on in Moscow, many a Russian criminal heads to Odessa and vice versa.  (The same for their counterparts in Moldova.)

I state this without any concrete evidence to back it up other than family ties which for obvious reasons I really don’t want to go into in any depth, and the occasional media reported shoot out when wanted Russian criminals are found by the police in Odessa to add some credance.

With regard to family ties, suffice to say my son’s godfather (seriously, no pun intended), let’s call him Uncle V, was a particularly well known mover and shaker in the Moscow based Russian mafia of particularly well known Grouporovka from the 1990’s.  His name is still well known amongst the security services of Odessa, Moscow and politicians of a certain age.  In fact some of the SBU I know in Odessa occasionally ask after him.

As far as I know, such nefarious days are long behind him now.  He spends most of the year in his very plush home with a zip code very similar to 90210 in a sunny part of the USA, but he still has a very luxurious and excessively rococo styled 2 storey apartment on Old Arbat in Moscow (complete with a very large and somewhat out of place/theme sauna), so very, very occasionally we do get to meet when he is visiting the less sunny Russian climate from time to time.

A particularly affable chap, who will will call Mr A from Odessa and lives not so very far from me in the rather up-market area of Arcadia (where numerous politicians and famous Slavs have second homes/apartments), “shared the same bread” (whatever that means in Russian criminal circles, but that is an exact quote from Mr A) with Uncle V in a Russian prison in the 1980’s  and quite often will appear to insure all is well with my wife and Uncle V’s godson.  Never does he send a minion but always comes himself.  Quite clearly their bond is strong and quite obviously they have been involved in many seriously nefarious acts together historically, most of which I remain oblivious too as far as specifics are concerned.

Mr A is regularly called to Moscow, Kyiv, Donetsk and Crimea at very short notice along with associates from Odessa.

Not particularly interesting to you dear readers I know, and quite what that has to do with Russian bankers shot in London and Odessa remains unclear.  The answer is nothing.  Other than an example of the Russian and Odessa mafias being one and the same thing despite many people trying to separate them.

So as there is no direct connection between the assassination attempt on Mr Gorbuntsov and Odessa what is the indirect connection you are asking?

The answer is an Odessa born chap called Evgeny Dvoskin, with whom our currently very sick Russian banker Mr Gorbuntsov, was/is allegedly an associate (as well as amongst others Petr Chuvilin).

I will not regale you with the tales of Mr Dvoskin and his career, if you have an interest, with a little bit of research and a little knowledge of Russian, and you will begin to scratch the surface.  It is also not really so very relevant to this post but would probably make a fairly interesting book when it comes to the mafia and finances if you care to dig deep enough.

Allegedly, according to some officials, and also according the the underworld tales that circulate in certain quarters in Odessa, Messers Dvoskin, Gorbuntsov and Churvilin were responsible for numerous corporate raids, numerous banking scams and more than a tad of money laundering (into Euro billions apparently) in cohorts with many well known nefarious Russian, Moldovan and Latvian characters.

Recently, I believe within the past 24 months or so, the story goes that Mr Gorbunstov and Mr Dvoskin had a bit of a fall out with the former apparently claiming the latter has screwed him over for quite a few Euro millions.

I should maybe point out that Mr Dvoskin is a long time gone from Odessa and it is said is now in Russia.

This tale is second hand uncorroborated ruminations from those who I cannot honestly state have first hand knowledge themselves, although they are far more likely to know than most people in all fairness.

The last I heard on the grapevine, and of course transparency is not great when it comes to the more secretive investigative institutions, is that a Russian FSB case into these people had gone particularly wobbly due to an inside man and that investigations were on-going but in far smaller pieces rather than one large conspiratorial case as it was in the beginning.  True or not –  Who knows?  Even if it was corroborated, would you trust those that corroborate it?

Maybe more interestingly than anything I have written so far is this is only occasion I can remember of a purely Russian on Russian high level criminal hit in London (if that is what it turns out to be), although why now I don’t suppose we will ever truly know.

But there you have today’s tedious link between Russian bankers, attempted assassinations and Odessa.

Tomorrow back to the more reliable tales in Ukraine with quotes, links and the like to help what I write stand up to the usual expected scrutiny from you dear readers.  However,  as it was topical, I thought I’d share with you some mumblings from the nefarious underworld of Odessa which I can in no way corroborate, just like all good myths and legends.

Needless to say the Chatham House Rule applies to this particular post when it comes to naming names and who said what when reciting these rumours, myths and legends for your deliberation.

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