Convoy of the Vice president of the Moscow Oil and Gas Company and boss of The Chechen mafia, one of the largest organized crime groups operating in the former Soviet Union next to established Russian mafia gangs, which originally consisted of criminals of Chechen ethnicity who later also tried to recruit former Russian special military forces, police and army officers. It has substantially decreased its presence in Moscow by 1994 after Slavic mafia groups united against their Chechen counterpart, with assistance from Russian police and the FSB (the former KGB). As it happened most of Chechen gang members returned to Chechnya and joined the rising Chechen separatist movement. The Chechen mafia is often referenced to as the "Russian mafia" in Europe, because most people of Chechen ethnicity speak Russian and many immigrated from the Russian Federation during the wars.
The Chechen mafia appears to dominate the traditional Russian mafia organizations in the drugs trade. One Tajik drug trafficker stated he preferred to sell his product to Chechen gangs rather than Russians, because of the Chechen's high-reaching contacts in both the underworld and police force. The Chechen influence runs even so far as to Murmansk, where starting from 1997 the head of the province's Internal Affairs Administration was actually a puppet for a Chechen named Vaskha Askhabov, who brought with him large-scale heroin trafficking that dominated the local underworld. Eventually Askhabov was arrested but freed in Moscow shortly afterwards, apparently thanks to his connections in the Ministry of Internal Affairs.[4
The Chechen independence movement has gained widespread attention and support in the Islamic world and throughout the conflict foreign charity organizations and fighters from many Arab countries have volunteered their services. Since the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City, the Putin administration has made several attempts to link Chechen insurgents to Al-Qaeda. Allegations of Al-Qaeda and Taliban links to the Chechen mafia have recently appeared and well-known Chechen leaders have been at different times referred to in the media as Islamists, terrorists, and mafia bosses. In a 1995 interview, former president of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria Dzhokhar Dudayev gave his opinion of the Russian media's representation of Chechen rebels:
The use of narcotics profits to finance the Chechen separatist movement and its links to Islamists groups has been suggested by various intelligence agencies. The Chechen mafia presence in Argentina has been linked primarily to the use of Argentina as a transit country for Andean cocaine shipments to Europe in fishing treaters and cargo ships, arms trafficking to Brazil and Colombia, and money laundering. In the so-called "tri-border" area between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay - which is home to a sizable ArabMuslim population - Argentine intelligence sources have detected contacts between Chechen separatist groups and "Islamic terrorists" and suspect Chechen use of these networks for arms smuggling purposes. On the other side of the globe, to finance their separatist movement, Islamist leader Shamil Basayev and his Chechen followers transported Afghan heroin throughAbkhazia to the Black Sea or through Turkey to Cyprus and then on to Europe.
In 1998 it was reported by Riyad 'Alam-al-Din in Nicosia and an unidentified Al-Watan al-'Arabi correspondent in Moscow thatOsama bin Ladin dispatched a delegation to the Chechen Republic made up of his group and representatives of the Taliban. Secret meetings were held in the outskirts of Grozny with some members of the Chechen Mafia to put the final touches on "the nuclear warheads deal." Allegedly the deal cost $30 million in cash from Osama bin Ladin's treasury and a grant of two tons of Afghan heroin donated by the Taliban. It was claimed that bin Ladin resorted to the services of the Chechen Mafia after many of his aides, some specializing in nuclear physics, failed in their attempts to acquire nuclear technology and equipment. However, these reports have yet to be confirmed by outside sources.
source wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chechen_mafia
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