Russian mafia still terrorizes California. Latest updates

Criminals earned $3.5 million kidnapping and murdering Soviet immigrants

Public prosecutors of California seek the death penalty for three leaders of the group, which conducted criminal activities in the USA. The hearings on the case of immigrants from the former Soviet Union started in the beginning of August at Los Angeles district court, Itar-Tass reports.

The gang kidnapped and murdered rich emigrants from Russia. The criminals were arrested in the spring of 2002, when several murder cases were being investigated. The case captured numerous headlines in California.

There are five group leaders on the bar: Kadamovas, Mikhel, Krylov and their associates Natalia Solovyova (29) and Aleksius Markovskis. Investigators do not insist on death sentences for the two associates, as they did minor work in the group.

Thirty-seven-year-old director of the movie production company Matador Communications, Georgy Safiyev, was one of the criminal group's victims. His body and the body of his colleague, a Georgian immigrant Nikolay Kharabadze, were pulled from a holding pond. The police also identified the bodies of Alexander Umansky (35), who ran the Advanced Mobile Technologies car electronics shop, notary Margarita Pekler (39) and the director of a large building company Meyer Muskatel (58).

All the victims emigrated from the USSR. They were rich people residing in Beverley Hills private villas. No other common features were detected for them. It turned out later that Margarita Pekler, the director of the accounting company Pekler Group was the central link in the criminal chain. She was well known in the Russian diaspora: Pekler helped beginners open firms, purchase houses, render financial services, etc. She was well informed about the affairs of her clients, about their financial well-being, first and foremost.

Margarita Pekler would call her friends and invite them to visit her country mansion to discuss important business matters there. Criminals would attack and tie victims up there, making them call their relatives and business partners for ransom money. Law-enforcement bodies investigated that Pekler frequently rendered auditing services to Safiyev.

Criminals promised to free Umansky and Kharabadze for $234,000, but they asked $5 million for Georgy Safiyev. The latter managed to pay only $1.2 million. When the money would be wired to the Bank of New York, criminals would suffocate victims and throw bodies in holding ponds. Kidnappings and murders continued before January 2002.

The police arrested four members of the gang in February 2002 – Yurius Kadamovas, Yury Mikhel, Pyotr Krylov and Ainar Altmanis. Aleksium Markovskis and Natalia Solovyova were arrested later. When the investigation was almost over in March 2003, Krylov, Mikhel and Kadamovas planned to escape prison. With the help of their friends - Tomas Tinan, his wife Sabrina and brother Michael, criminal group members smuggled tools to prison and dug a passage. However, prison guards found the passage and staved off the escape. Tomas Tinan and members of his family have already been sentenced up to 3.5 years in prison.

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Author`s name Olga Savka