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VIDEO: Russian gang boss who slept with axe under pillow arrested on Costa del Sol

A Russian gang boss who slept with an axe under his pillow because he feared a murder attempt has been detained in southern Spain, police said Tuesday.

VIDEO: Russian gang boss who slept with axe under pillow arrested on Costa del Sol
Yyacheslav Gulevich slept with an axe under his pillow. Photo: Policia Nacional

Yyacheslav Gulevich, 57, headed up the Kemerovo organisation which dealt in drugs, weapons and human trafficking, as well as prostitution in Estonia.   

He was arrested on August 2nd in the Spanish seaside resort of Mijas where he lived.

On the same day, three other group leaders were also detained in the Estonian capital Tallinn, where Kemerovo was was based, police said in a statement.

Estonian authorities had for two years been investigating the gang, which they said had been gripped by a fierce internal turf war which saw the previous boss Nikolai Tarankov shot in the head in September.

Gulevich was Tarankov's right-hand man and took over the organisation when he died, but feared for his life and fled to Spain.   

In his home in Mijas, police found “an axe and a large knife hidden under his pillow,” police said.

His fears appear to have been justified, as a member of the organisation was arrested in June in Catalonia in northeastern Spain, and “it appears he was in Spain to find Gulevich and murder him,” the Guardia Civil police force said.

They added that among the three others arrested in Tallinn was a martial arts expert who recruited Kemerovo “soldiers” in his gym.

RUSSIA

Spanish court probes Russian tycoon’s purchase of supermarket chain Dia

Spain's top criminal court said Thursday it has opened an investigation into whether Russian tycoon Mikhail Fridman artificially depressed the share price of supermarket chain Dia before buying the firm.

Spanish court probes Russian tycoon's purchase of supermarket chain Dia
File photo of a Dia supermarket. Photo: AFP

The Kremlin-friendly oligarch appeared in court in Madrid on Monday as part of a separate similar case in which judges are investigating allegations he acted to bring down the value of another Spanish takeover target, digital entertainment firm Zed Worldwide.   

He denied all charges in that case in a statement released after he was questioned in court.

An investigating judge with the National Court “has begun investigating a complaint” against Fridman and his Luxembourg-based investment company LetterOne “in connection with its acquisition of Dia”, according to a document from the court published Thursday.   

In May, LetterOne secured majority control of the struggling supermarket chain via a hostile takeover following a bitter dispute with its previous management as the firm's share price slumped.

The judge is investigating allegations made in an anonymous complaint that LetterOne “maintained a heightened financial tension to lower the share price, until it managed to buy the company,” the court document said.

Spain's Supreme Court had in September given the National Court a mandate to investigate this case which it said could constitute the crime of “market manipulation” and could have had “serious repercussions on… the national economy” given the size of Dia's supermarket network in the country, the document added.

It cited a police report alleging that Fridman acted in a “coordinated and concerted way” through a network of “criminal associates… to create a situation of conflict… and lack of liquidity in the short term” so as to lower Dia's price and buy the firm.   

In a statement, LetterOne called these allegations “totally false and defamatory”.

“The reality is Dia suffered from mismanagement and accounting irregularities were discovered, which negatively affected all shareholders, including LetterOne,” it added.

LetterOne said it was “committed” to investing 1.6 billion euros to protect jobs, suppliers and keep stores open.

Through LetterOne, Fridman also controls interests in telecoms, banking, oil and healthcare.   

The tycoon, who is reportedly close to the Kremlin and was listed by Forbes this year as London's richest resident, is also one of the founders of Alfa Bank, Russia's largest privately-held lender.

READ MORE: From Russia with love: Tycoon buys out ailing Spanish supermarket

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