Scandals around the Olympics in Salt Lake City continue. Now, it turns out that there the Russian mafia behind Olympic figure skating medals. Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, who is more known for his nickname Taiwanchik, has been arrested in Italy. American law-enforcement bodies suspect him of putting pressure on judges with the goal of having gold medals awarded to French skaters Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat. This couple won gold medals with the help of only one vote, leaving the Russian team of Irina Lobacheva and Ilya Averbukh behind. The judges from Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine voted for the French skaters. They will all be interrogated by FBI agents.
So why was the gold medal awarded to the French couple and not to the Russian team? Tokhtakhounov is infamous as one of the leaders of the Izmaylovo organized criminal group in Moscow, so it would be logical to assume that, if he had placed any pressure on the judges, then it would have been for the sake of Russian skaters. On the other hand, Taiwanchik has been living in Paris for several years now, in a big fancy apartment. He also has apartments in Rome and Milan.
Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov was born in the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan in 1948. He left Russia at the beginning of the 1990s and settled in Germany. He is considered to be a big friend of Shamil Tarpishev, who is currently the coach of the Russian national tennis squad. Back in those years, Tarpishev was Boris Yeltsin’s personal trainer. Before leaving abroad, Taiwanchik held a position in the Association XXI Century company, which was owned by the Kvantrishvily brothers. The FBI believes that Taiwanchik acted as an official to "persuade" debtors.
The Germans decided to get rid of Tokhtakhounov in 1993. He appeared in German police stations many times; German police asked him why so many people around him were being killed.He said he did not know why and that he was sorry for them. However, he soon left for France. Tokhtakhounov claimed that he cast his criminal past aside.
The Western police did not believe his story, and they were carefully watching his every step. The Italian authorities will most likely deliver him to the USA, as the Italians have seriouos doubts that they will manage to prove Tokhtakhounov’s guilt at court. The USA has been looking for a reason to put Tokhtakhounov in jail, since the FBI considers him the "godfather" of the Russian mafia in the West. Olympic scandals are very good for that.
It will be very hard for them to prove Taiwanchik’s guilt, since he is able to hire first class lawyers. However, Tokhtakhounov will have to spend at least some time behind bars.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov