Georgia should not give up on Kalashov extradition
It is increasingly unclear whether Russian crime boss Zakhary Kalashov will be extradited from Spain to Georgia to serve out an 18-year sentence. Kalashov is currently in prison in Spain after being arrested in and extradited from the UAE. However, he could be a free man this summer due to increasing ties between Georgia and Russia.
A dual citizen of George and Russia , Kalashov, who also goes by Shakro Jr., is wanted for crimes stemming from his involvement in the "Solntsevskaya," "Izmailovskaya" and "Bratskaya" crime groups. He moved to Spain in 2000, where he organized the "Clan of Eleven" criminal network and became a leader of the Russian-Georgian mafia operating in Spain . Kalashov fled to Spain in 2005 after a local sting operation, arriving in the UAE, where he was eventually detained and extradited in 2006. At the same time, he was tried in Georgia in absentia and sentenced to 18 years in prison.
However, a Spanish newspaper reported that, despite being in prison, he remains "in close contact with the criminal organization of Kutaisi , which is considered the most terrible in Georgia ."
In 2010, a Spanish court agreed to extradite Kalashov to Georgia following the completion of his prison term in Spain in the summer of 2013. However, questions have arisen as to whether the Russian-Georgian crime boss will face punishment for his crimes in his home country. Georgia 's new prime minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili, has a strongly pro-Russian outlook.
This has placed Kalashov in a tug-of-war for influence between Russia and the US . Russia has shown no particular interest in punishing Kalashov, who has ties to Russian political circles, and was not involved in the international search to arrest him.
Furthermore, there is concrete evidence that the Russian Interior Ministry, which is responsible for fighting the mafia, is actually maintaining close, friendly relations with Kalashov's associates. For instance, in this image senior Ministry officials Manukyan K.G amd Major General Viktor Golovanov, one of the leaders of the operational-search control of the interior Ministry of the Russian Federation are seen meeting with Leon Lann, Turetski M.A - they are two senior aides of Kalashov. Leon Lann even has been dubbed "the accountant of the Russian mafia."
In contrast to Russian policy, the US wants to see Kalashov imprisoned for his role in the kidnapping and murder of American citizen Alexander Crain.
In short, due to global politics, a man involved in kidnapping, murder, money laundering, smuggling and extortion could go free to the dismay of many Georgians, who consider their country to be a state that respects laws.
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