Underworld boss Ded Khasan is lying in a hospital bed with 20 OMON operatives standing guard over him following an assassination attempt in Moscow.
The criminal chief, whose activities have been linked to last year’s shooting of mafia boss Yaponchik (Vyacheslav Ivankov), was shot in the stomach on Tverskaya on Thursday evening.
The assassination attempt on Georgian-born Aslan Usoyan, 73, known as Ded Khasan, took place when he got out of his car with the bodyguard and was immediately shot in the stomach. The would-be assassin opened fire from a rifle with a silencer, so no one heard the shots.
A driver who found Usoyan and his bodyguard lying on the ground called the ambulance and the two were taken to Botkin hospital located nearby, where both remain in serious condition.
As well as the OMON contingent about 50 more people are guarding the hospital, including several prominent mafia figures, gzt.ru reported.
Usoyev, who is of Kurdish background, was one of the most influential mafia bosses in the former Soviet Union. After the death of Yaponchik last year he became the the sole keeper of the legendary all-Russian thieves’ common fund.
But since 2008 he got into a conflict with rival mafia chief Tariel Oniani, 58, over cash from private investors building Olympic developments in Sochi, Kommersant reported.
That dispute cost Yaponchik his life when he was shot in the stomach leaving a Moscow restaurant where it is believed he was seeking to mediate that dispute.
Oniani was blamed for the killing in the criminal fraternity and soon after two of his underworld allies were killed in Europe.
Moscow’s investigators are sure that yesterday’s attack is retaliation, as the assassination on Khasan and Yaponchik are very similar – both were shot in the stomach from similar weapons.
Ded Khasan was aware that he was in danger and had been hiding in Abkhazia after Yaponchik’s murder. The investigators think the he was visiting his son in Moscow at the time of the hit.
However, the investigators are not ruling out the idea that the assassination was done to open up the lucrative fund that Usoyev controlled.
New crime war
The chances of the police solving this crime are very slim. A code of conduct among the so-called thieves-in-law (vor v zakone) prohibits the members of clans to contact the investigation and means that they should avenge their boss themselves. The guilty are sentenced at special underworld meetings.
Law-enforcement sources fear that this assassination attempt may start a new round in the criminal war.
Police have admitted that false information was released saying that the two victims had been killed, gzt.ru reported. The investigators hoped to shock someone into helping the investigation.
However, the only person the police managed to arrest that night was a large man with a cigar who tried to break through the police cordon around the crime scene with his girlfriend. Both were fingerprinted and released.
The police found the assassin’s hide-out in a third floor flat overlooking the entrance to the house Usoyev was visiting. A special forces operative clad in armour for fear of booby traps climbed through the window soon after midnight and opened the door for the investigators that included the head of Moscow police General Vladimir Kolokoltsev.
The police found the rifle with a silencer, but no optic sight and white wool gloves. Apparently the assassin was not highly-skilled, since forensic evidence suggests he missed with several shots before escaping through the back entrance.
The investigators are questioning the flat owners.