Russia Reportedly Protecting Mafia Figure Accused of Bribing Olympics Figures

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:
Russia Reportedly Protecting Mafia Figure Accused of Bribing Olympics Figures

With the Winter Olympics about to kick off in Sochi, Russia in just a matter of days, a dark shadow continues to hover over that nation, and we’re not referring to any terrorist threats or fear of reprisal against the LGBT community.

This is about Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, for whom ABC News says “lives a luxury life inside of Moscow”, this despite his alleged ties to bribing judges at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and a subsequent Interpol arrest warrant. 
"It's never been enforced," said Mike Gaeta, the FBI agent who heads the Eurasian Organized Crime Section in New York. "Frankly, there's not much that we can do unless he voluntarily decides to show up at [New York's] JFK [airport] one day."

Tokhtakhounov is now 65 years old and is described by US authorities as being a “major player” in the Russian mafia.

He was indicted by a US federal grand jury in 2002 for attempting to fix the pairs figure skating competition through the use of bribes and threats.   He was charged with running a $10 million international gambling and money laundering operation.

Game fixing in sports has become a serious issue in recent years, highlighted by the arrests of gambling figures tied to such activity in tennis, soccer and the National Basketball Association (NBA).
After first being arrested in Italy, Tokhtakhounov was released on bail and fled to Moscow.

"I'm a good person, I live quietly here. I have children," he told ABC News in a phone interview from his Moscow apartment. "Ask the law enforcement here, they will say there is nothing."

The FBI contends that Tokhtakhounov is still up to his old ways and currently leads an organized crime group called the “thieves-in-law”.
"Because of his status, we have kept tabs on his activities," said FBI agent Gaeta.
Of the 34 individuals named in the indictment, 33 were arrested. Twenty six of them have pleaded guilty, ABC News noted.

- Gilbert Horowitz,

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