Wednesday, April 17, 2013

FBI Probes Russian Crime Ring

US authorities charged 34 people on Tuesday for allegedly being part of a Russian crime ring that investigators said engaged in extortion and money laundering in excess of $100 million, and operated high-stakes poker games in the United States that attracted professional athletes, Hollywood celebrities and Wall Street executives. The charges “demonstrate the scope and reach of Russian organized crime. One of the principal defendants is a notorious Russian ‘thief-in-law’ allegedly directing an international conspiracy through Cyprus to the US,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos in a statement. “The defendants are alleged to have handled untold millions in illegal wagers placed by millionaires and billionaires, laundered millions, and in some cases are themselves multi-millionaires,” he added. Among those named in the indictment, unsealed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Tuesday, was Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, also known as “Taiwanchik," a Russian businessman who was earlier accused of bribing ice skating judges at the 2002 Winter Olympics.

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