[QODLink]
Europe

Russian 'godfather' shot dead by sniper

Aslan Usoyan, allegedly a prominent leader of the Russian mafia, was shot as he left an exclusive Moscow restaurant.
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2013 12:33
The Georgian-born Yezidi Kurd was targeted by a sniper in a previous attempt on his life in 2010 [AFP]

A reputed Russian crime boss has been shot dead by an unidentified gunman in central Moscow, in an apparent contract killing which may reignite a 'turf war' between crime rings. 

Aslan Usoyan, also known as 'Grandpa Hassan' was shot by a sniper on Wednesday afternoon as he was exiting an exclusive Moscow restaurant, and died while being rushed to a hospital.

Russian authorities conducted ballistics tests and said that motives could be "connected to the criminal activity of the victim and possible conflicts with other representatives of the same milieu". 

Police have said that the incident also left a female bystander wounded, who is being treated in hospital.

"I am sure that a new criminal redistribution will begin now," said Alexander Khinshtein, a Russian legislator who sits on the security committee, in a tweet. 

The Georgian-born Yezidi Kurd was targeted by a sniper in a previous attempt on his life in 2010. 

The 75-year-old earned the underworld title of "thief in law" which means a criminal godfather.

With his first conviction when he was aged 19, Usloyan allegedly headed a crime network involved in illegal gambling, drug and weapons sales, and natural resources extraction after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. 

Usoyan's ring was said to oversee the crime groups operating in south Russia, including the Caucasus.

Contract killings in turf wars were common across Russia when the Soviet Union collapsed as gangs battled to gain control of lucrative businesses and care up territory. 

239

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.