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Published: Wednesday, 1/16/2013

Police: Top Russian criminal kingpin, 75, killed in Moscow

ASSOCIATED PRESS

MOSCOW — Police say one of the leaders of organized crime in Russia has been gunned down in Moscow.

Aslan Usoyan, also known as Grandpa Khasan, came from a caste of professional criminals who sport elaborate tattoos, follow unwritten prison laws codified in Stalinist-era Gulags and have been romanticized in countless popular songs.

The 75-year-old ethnic Kurd was born in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. Police say for the past two decades he headed one of the region's most powerful criminal groups, which trafficked in drugs and weapons and controlled underground casinos and legal businesses.

Police said an unidentified gunman fired a single shot Tuesday at Usoyan near a restaurant in central Moscow.

Since 2006, Usoyan had been at war with a criminal group headed by another Georgian, Tariel Oniani.



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