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Return of the King? Kuhiliva returns

January 11, 2017

It has been 6 months since the blog last wrote about the organised criminality of Odessa beyond the usual top tier “untouchables” whose names are occasionally dropped by Ukrainian politicians or raised privately by wandering diplomats passing through.

Long as that last entry was, and there was much ground to cover even superficially, the outstanding and unresolved local organised crime issues raised regarding power struggles following the PNGing of Thief in Law Anthimos Kuhilava in 2012 that left him marooned in Istanbul, have remained more or less constant since the time of writing – until 30th December 2016.

The 30th December 2016 saw the return of Anthimos Kuhilava to Odessa – to the void he was forced to leave behind and that is still not convincingly filled.  That he will replace his crown  and fill that void, either by design or default has to be highly likely.  Having been “crowned” Thief in Law in 1975, undoubtedly it is not a burden.

So how is a major, established organised criminal personality thrown out of Odessa and Ukraine persona non grata allowed to return just 3 years after being ejected?

Naturally a matter of dodgy documents and dodgy courts – and perhaps a little help from some family and friends.

Unsurprisingly Mr Kuhilava was born in Georgia.  Perhaps a little more surprisingly he was granted Ukrainian citizenship in 2005, apparently on the back of dodgy documents – or perhaps not.  Almost a decade, an established organised criminal network, (not to mention becoming Godfather to MP Alexander Presman’s offspring) later, Mr Kuhilava was PNG’d and his citizenship cancelled due to aforementioned dodgy documents used to obtain citizenship.

However, such are the ways of Ukraine that the question arises as to which is the most dodgy?

The documents?

The initial court?

Or the Supreme Court of Ukraine that ruled his PNGing and cancellation of citizenship unlawful – thus returning his citizenship and passport?

Any or all of those pulling the strings behind the curtain?

Whatever the case, an organised crime kingpin of Odessa has returned to an underworld not entirely dissimilar to how he was forced to leave it – and he has returned legally, being met by the same “businessmen” of Odessa he left at Odessa airport.

Nevertheless, a known Thief in Law, long established in Odessa and likely to resume his leading role in the underworld being here entirely legally?  That is progress along the road to the rule of law right?

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