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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 July, 2004, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK
Russian 'godfather' returns home
Ivankov after arrest by FBI in 1995
Ivankov was reported to the FBI by extortion victims
A notorious Russian criminal boss has been deported back home to face murder charges after serving a jail sentence in the US.

Vyacheslav Ivankov, nicknamed "the Russian godfather", arrived in Moscow on Wednesday after his release from a US prison the previous day.

Ivankov, who had been in the US since 1993, was convicted in 1996 for the extortion of $3.5m from fellow emigres.

Russian prosecutors said he was being escorted under guard to a custody cell.

The Russian newspaper Kommersant said he was likely to be held in the Matrosskaya Tishina jail, in the same block as former Yukos boss Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who is currently on trial for tax fraud.

The Russian authorities charged Ivankov in absentia in 2000 with the murder of two Turkish nationals after an argument in a Moscow restaurant in 1992.

But Kommersant said it would be hard to prove his guilt because out of two witnesses to the alleged murder, one had since died.

The other was living in Turkey and did not intend to come to Russia to give evidence, the paper said.

Kidnapping

Ivankov, who is known in Russia as "little Japanese" for his vaguely oriental features, spent 10 years in a Soviet prison before allegedly bribing a judge to gain early release in 1991.

He re-appeared among the Russian immigrant community in Brighton Beach, New York, two years later.

But he was arrested in 1995 after Alexander Volkov and Vladimir Voloshin, the owners of a company advising immigrants on investment, reported him to the FBI for extortion.

They said that when they resisted demands for money Ivankov had kidnapped them and beaten Mr Voloshin's father to death in a Moscow railway station.

He was sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison.




SEE ALSO:
Russia's deadly crime epidemic
21 Aug 02  |  Europe
Country profile: Russia
23 Jun 04  |  Country profiles


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