TALLINN - The Tallinn-based Harju County Court on Monday decided to grant the early release from prison of mob boss Gennadi Okunev, head of the so-called Okunev gang, and his placement under electronic surveillance.
The court decided to release Okunev, 67, on parole and sentenced him to a probationary period until Feb. 19, 2025, for the first ten months of which he will be subject to electronic surveillance.
The court believes that the time he has spent in prison, that is more than three years and a month, has made Okunev realize that the crimes committed will have far-reaching consequences for his daily life and well-being and that he has drawn the necessary conclusions from his wrongdoing.
"Gennadi Okunev has fulfilled the conditions for early release and placement under electronic surveillance. He has a fixed place of residence in Tallinn, where it is also possible to install an electronic monitoring device. He also has support from persons close to him, he is an old-age pensioner. He has not been disciplined during his imprisonment. The court considers that the detainee may be given an opportunity to demonstrate that he is capable of behaving lawfully," the court said.
Tallinn Prison and the prosecutor's office supported his early release from prison at a hearing on April 4.
Okunev, who has been serving his sentence since February 2019, agreed to a punishment under a plea bargain deal with the Office of the Prosecutor General in March 2020.
According to the deal between the Office of the Prosecutor General and Okunev, the six-year jail term for Okunev is counted from his arrest on Feb. 19, 2019.
Under the same deal, assets obtained through crime in the amount of over 700,000 euros were confiscated from Okunev. The assets include a collection of gold coins worth 320,000 euros, a Toyota Land Cruiser vehicle worth 44,000 euros, and 106,000 euros in cash found during a search.
In addition, he has to pay the state 233,000 euros. If said amount is not paid on time, Okunev will lose his home in Suurupi in the Viimsi municipality bordering Tallinn as well as valuable icons.
A plea deal was likewise concluded with 49-year-old Sergei Popov, a member of Okunov's inner circle, who received a suspended three-year jail term as punishment.
The Office of the Prosecutor General accused Gennadi Okunev of leading a criminal organization and 11 men of belonging to this criminal organization, bringing the total number of charges to 14 people.
Public Prosecutor Kati Reitsak has said that Okunev held a position of authority in Estonia's criminal circles already since the 1990s.
"It was determined during criminal proceedings that Okunev established a criminal organization at the latest in 2013, which aimed to carry out drug-related crimes, criminal offences against property and offer criminals and persons as well as companies under the so-called protection of the organization a so-called roof, to put it simply. In order to earn criminal income, maintain the position of the mob and finance its activity, members of the criminal organization carried out offences against persons, extortion and fraud," the prosecutor said.
According to Reitsak, it can be said on the basis of evidence collected during pre-trial proceedings that this was a permanent structure with an internal hierarchy as well as a so-called joint money box, with the structure ensuring the mob's activity also during times when various members were in prison.
"Paying part of income earned by way of criminal activity into the joint money box ensured the criminal organization's protection and support of its members as well as criminals working with them," the prosecutor said.
The criminal case was investigated by the Central Criminal Police and the investigation was led by the Office of the Prosecutor General.