“Tariel Oniani’s case” has united Moscow and Tbilisi16.06.2009 | 17:59
Moscow Court has been keeping Tariel Oniani, a "thief in law", under arrest refusing to accept a 15 million rubles bail offered by the advocates. In Russia, Tariel is accused of kidnapping a businessman and blackmailing. However, the main danger is that he had launched a bloody war between the crime families. Oniani is accused by the Georgian authorities as well. Moscow has already announced its readiness to cooperate with Tbilisi on the same case.
At the end of last week the law-enforcement agencies have detained a criminal authority, Tariel Oniani, a native of Lentekhski region of the Western Georgia. However, he presented himself to the militia as Tariel Mulukhov having a history of a law-abiding citizen of Russia with no criminal records. The advocates offered a 15 million rubles bail to the judge of Khamovnicheski Court in Moscow but the court delivered a judgment to keep Mulukhov-Oniani under arrest.
Tariel is accused of initiating the kidnapping of businessman Managadze and holding him to ransom of 500 thousand dollars that was demanded from his relatives. As soon as the kidnappers received almost a half of the amount, Magnadze was released. However, more threats followed, forcing the affected businessman to seek militia's help.
The abduction of the businessman became a good excuse for arresting the thief in law, who, upon returning to Russia from abroad in 2005, started a war for the influence areas with the local "authority" Aslan Usoyan nicknamed Ded Khasan (Old Khasan). In Russia, the conflict between the two thieves has already taken dozens of lives, Interfax reports. The last one to be shot at the end of May was Andrey Golubev known in the criminal world as Skif (Scythian). In February, Alick Minalyan (Alick from Sochi) was killed. He had supervised the business in Sochi, arousing Tariel Oniani's interest as well.
The war of "authorities" had been portended by the widely-known thieves' meeting on board the ship at the Pirogovskoye water-storage basin last July. That time, the law-enforcement personnel broke up the meeting, having detained 39 thieves in law and about 50 authorities of the criminal world. Next day they were released, but the thieves were made to understand that they would be traced. According to Sobesednik (The Interlocutor), there was no Old Khasan or his people among the arrested. They had held their own meeting last May in Krasnodar, where they tried to suspend Tariel's "powers" as a thief.
Since the beginning of the 90s up to his appearance in Russia, Oniani resided in the Western Europe, being engaged in the construction business scheming. In 2005, he successfully escaped the Spanish law-enforcement agencies' raid. He was put on the INTERPOL international wanted list. At the same time, as it became known later, Tariel settled in Russia as Mulukhov.
In 2006, according to Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia Vano Merabishvili, Oniani, who comes from "the Kutaisi criminal group", was the subject of a discussion with the head of MIA in Russia. "In Georgia, we have delivered "a very hard blow" upon one of the major criminal groups that is absolutely equal to the Italian or American mafia, as long as the names of "our" thieves are known by heart by Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Spain, Russia and Austria", - Civil.ge quoted Merabishvili.
President Mikhail Saakashvili is also proud of his victory in the war with the criminal world, which "kings" were successfully exported by Georgia to other countries. One can easily find in the Internet the complete list of all thieves in law "crowned" with such a name. More than a half of the 582 names are Georgian.
According to the Russian MIA, there are currently 98 thieves in the country, most of which belong to the Georgian criminal families. And this is no coincidence. According to Criminal Russia, since the times when Eduard Schevardnadze was First Secretary of the Republican Communist Party Central Committee, Georgia witnessed the transformation of the thieves in law. Before that, this caste had to live an abstentious life, keeping away from any public authorities, having no right for a family and collecting the dues to the "common cash fund" to maintain the families of the prisoners.
While other Soviet republics were busy with building socialism, Georgia was already "rearing" the shadow market economy. There was a flow of incredible amounts of cash into the Georgian criminal common cash funds. The Georgian thieves in law started to abandon their austerity; they got married, developed powerful connections and created their own families. They introduced a new ideology into the criminal world. In the 90s, a new type of criminal groups appeared, whose leaders had never been prisoners: they just bought "the name" of a thief in law for hundreds thousands dollars.