MOSCOW, January 28 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow police detained six suspected mafia bosses who had gathered for a “coronation” of one of them, media reported Tuesday.
One of the suspects was the nephew of Aslan “Gramps Khasan” Usoyan, arguably the most infamous Russian mafia boss who was killed in 2013, Vm.ru news website said, citing a police spokesman.
The party at a Moscow restaurant was held to create a new “thief-in-law,” a title denoting a don of the underworld in Russian criminal culture, the report said.
It remained unclear whether the decision had been made by the time the police moved in.
But officers found nothing incriminating and had to release all six men – one of whom is a suspect in a drug case – after a “prophylactic talk,” Primecrime.ru said.
Russian law enforcement busted four “thief-in-law” gatherings last year and another two since the start of 2014.
Organized crime in Russia went into decline after its “golden age” in the 1990s, beaten back by the police and, arguably, losing ground to corrupt officials.
But it remains active and grabbed headlines last year with the shooting of 75-year-old Usoyan. The killing prompted fears of an all-out turf war between rival groups that has not materialized so far.