PKK’s main Russian supplier of arms taken into custody

The boss of Russia's crime syndicate is under custody for nearly 48 hours

Ersin Çelik
15:49 . 14/07/2016 Thursday
Yeni Şafak

Zakhar Kalashov, codenamed Young Shakro, known in Turkey to be one of the biggest supplier of arms to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), was detained at his luxurious mansion in Moscow in a police raid on Wednesday.

The raid, carried out by special operation forces, came shortly after Turkey and Russia publicly declared intentions to restore their diplomatic ties, which remained tense since the plane crisis broke out in November 24th.

Officials said he will remand in custody until August 21 when he will be put on trial for his alleged part of a homicide committed in 2014. Russian news agency TASS, quoting his lawyer, reported that Kalashov will appeal the court's decision. Kalashov's custody is not politically motivated, his lawyer claimed.

Shakro is said to have met with PKK leaders in Bagdad three times over the past eight months. He is known as the main supplier of heavy weapons to the PKK, which has been used in terrorist attacks in Turkey's southeast. Media outlets reported in 2014 that Shakro sent the weapons to PKK via Iran.

He is the absolute owner of a criminal empire, associated to Aslan Usoyan, codenamed Grandpa Hassan, who was gunned down in front of a Moscow restaurant in January 2013. Shakro, once the closest aide of Grandpa Hassan, an Armenian of Kurdish origin, was allegedly controlling delivery of illegal arms and ammunition supplies, used in the terrorist organisation's assaults in Turkey.

The notorious gangster was born on May 20, 1953 as the eldest son of an ethnic Yazidi family of Kurdish origin in Georgia. Shakro moved to Spain in early 2000s after three assassination attempts that he escaped uninjured. In June 2005, Spanish intelligence service carried out a secret operation, called “Wasp", resulting in the arrest of 30 people, believed to have close ties to his illicit organization.

Spanish police confiscated 800 bank accounts, luxury villas and cars during the operation, targeting his crime syndicate which U.S. government calls the Brothers' Circle. The infamous criminal managed to escape but he was subsequently arrested in the United Arab Emirates in May 2016. He was then extradited to Spain.

He was found guilty by the Madrid Court in 2010 and charged for money laundering. The court sentenced him nine years in prison.

The Wikileaks, citing the Spanish prosecutor's indictment, reported that Shakro admitted that he had sent arms to the PKK with the order of the Russian military service. The ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, killed in November 2006 in London, had also claimed Shakro sold heavy weapons to the PKK.

In 2014, Shakro was eventually released and extradited to Russia. On his arrival to Moscow, the “thief-in-law" was taken to the Ministry of Internal Affairs immediately for a preventive conversation with one of key officials in the ministry. After this meeting, Shakro was released.

Officials stated that Shakro meet with -- Yuri Pichugin and Vasya Voskres -- two infamous aides of Grandpa Hassan and the trio then visited the grave of their former boss.

7 years ago