Russian gang leader responsible for 60 contract killings given life in jail

One of Russia’s most notorious gang leaders, Aslan Gagiev, has been jailed for life for his role in some 60 contract killings, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office reported on Thursday.

Gagiev started building a criminal network in 2004 that would eventually involve over 50 people, according to prosecutors. By 2014, Gagiev had been placed on Russia’s most wanted list on suspicion of masterminding the murders of a string of bank owners and managers, as well as the mayor of the city of Vladikavkaz, in North Ossetia where the gang operated.

Photo: Russian Prosecutor General’s Office

Photo: Russian Prosecutor General’s Office

The prosecutors in the case said that Gagiev had been motivated by a desire to dominate the criminal underworld of North Ossetia and in some cases selected his victims personally.

Between 2004 and 2014, the Gagiev gang was responsible for the murders of 60 people, the prosecution charged, with some 37 erstwhile gang members since being sentenced to long prison sentences, including life terms.

Gagiev was detained in Vienna in 2015 on an Interpol arrest warrant, but posted bail of €100,000 and attempted to flee to Bulgaria only to be detained on suspicion of using a fake passport. He was ultimately taken back into custody and was extradited to Russia in June 2018.

In an interview with Novaya Gazeta given from his Austrian prison cell in 2016, Gagiev claimed he had been known as “Big Brother” in North Ossetia, and that gang members referred to each other as “family”, initially claiming that they were doing good deeds by killing “scum that creates trouble for ordinary people”.

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