Prosecutor's office: Estonia's criminal world still without leader

  • 2020-04-27
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – The criminal world of Estonia has remained without a leader since the killing of its then head Nikolai Tarankov in fall 2016, the annual review of the Office of the Prosecutor General says.

According to the prosecutor's office, the emergence of a new leader may have become stalled pending the release of Assar Paulus and Haron Dikajev from prison. 

Assar Paulus was punished by a court with a seven-year jail sentence for leading a criminal organization in fall 2017. The potential timeline for the release of Haron Dikajev is yet to become known, as Dikajev has appealed the sentence of 12 years in jail handed to him also for leading a criminal organization in August 2019, the annual review says.

The Office of the Prosecutor General pointed out that where Paulus may get out of prison already in April next year, Dikajev may have to spend until the end of June 2027 behind bars. 

"Estonia's organized crime continues to be without a 'head.' A part of potential successors have been either convicted or detained. Another part have decided to shake the dust of Estonia off their feet. The third part were afraid of finding themselves in the limelight. Finding a candidate suitable for everyone turned out to be a surprisingly difficult task for the underworld. Where the old veterans of the mafia wars already were thinking about pending retirement and wished to watch the forthcoming struggle for power from a safe distance, there was also a bunch of more active people of the younger generation who discovered themselves to be carrying a marshal's baton in their pack," the annual review says.

The prosecutor's office pointed out that after the murder of Tarankov, unusual PR-style articles were published in Estonian media during several months on what criteria the new underworld boss of Estonia should meet.

As a culmination, Ahmed Ozdojev, who had been linked to an investment fraud in Bulgaria on the pages of Aripaev a few years before and who had racketed a mayonnaise factory in Estonia in the 1990s, and who eventually had had to spend time in jail for takeover of the factory by force, was introduced to the public by a newspaper here as Tarankov's potential successor, the annual review said.

"Finding oneself in the limelight can be fatal for one's career ambitions in certain circles," the annual review said, observing that the ambitions of Ozdojev were soon undermined by the attention received by him from the Central Criminal Police in the form of arrest in February 2018 as suspect in the extortion of 3.5 million US dollars from a former Russian banker. 

A month later, the Central Criminal Police were able also to detain brothers Sergei and Oleg Martovoi, both known in the local criminal world, along with their companions, some of whom have received a jail sentence from a court already while others are still waiting for the court's verdict.

The Central Criminal Police has by now put an end to the activity of the criminal organization led by Assar Paulus, to the activity of the criminal organization of Chechens led by Haron Dikajev, to the activity of the criminal organization led by Andrei Kuzjakin, to the activity of the Kemerovo criminal organization, to the activity of the criminal organization of brothers Martovoi and Eduard Kosljakov, to the activity of the Azeri criminal organization led by Amid Magerramov, and to the activity of the criminal organization of Gennadi Okunev, the annual review said.

Altogether, over the past five years, charges have been lodged against seven leaders of criminal organizations in Estonia, along with several interim level leaders or brigadiers and in total 82 members of criminal organizations.  

According to national police chief Elmar Vaher, there are approximately 20 criminal organizations active in Estonia, of which eight are very dangerous.