Investigating the Russian Mafia on its home turf

9237035688?profile=originalBy Ronald Fino

The following is a report I made around 2003 regarding Russian Mafia activity. The threat from Russian organized crime (ROC) in the United States has been a major concern for some time. Most of us in the know agree that increased organized crime activity is widespread and rapidly growing. Its ability to change methods of operations creates a difficult challenge for law enforcement and society as a whole.

Russian organized crime is an area that is increasingly difficult and quite complicated to scrutinize. The crimes they commit after careful planning involve several Russian criminal groups, networks and include some people who are forced to support their immoral goings-on via threats. They have no limitations or boundaries and you will find Russian organized crime benefiting from just about everything.

I cover quite a bit of my time as an undercover agent in Russia in my book The Triangle Exit, but not enough and I had to leave the following piece of information out. Until recently, this was a confidential report and luckily I am now allowed to make it public at Gangsters Inc. Some names and places were omitted to protect people still in harm’s way.

Attn: Greg ________

9237036074?profile=originalWhile in Moscow, I (Ron Fino, photo right) was met by Igor Maistrenko, __________ who at that time was a _________for the Kremlin _________ and now is a senior FSB Agent. He is also a close associate of Putin assistant __________ and who is well connected to many Russian Mafia families there as well as in St. Petersburg, Kiev, Ukraine, Latvia, the former Soviet empire, as well as in Israel and North America. We stayed at the home of Oleg Yakuta (dealer in African precious and semi-precious gems and gold as well as counterfeit DVDs and CDs) and are a close friend of Masitrenko.

Yakuta arranged for us to meet 2 close friends of his who are high ranking Russian mafia leaders (Andrei (LNU) 30-35 years old, 5’11’’) (Mikhail (LNU) 38-40 years old 6’2’’) who have substantial input with the Putin administration as well as in the arms, precious gems, seafood and liquor industry. We went to the office of Rosspiritprom (Russian government organization that controls most of the production of liquor). We waited outside and Mikhail arrived escorted by two military bodyguards.

Igor and I were introduced to him by Yakuta and were told that Andrei would be along shortly. While waiting the two military bodyguards checked all the nearby cars as well the area. Andrei arrived with 3-4 bodyguards. After our introduction, Andrei already aware of our needs escorted us into the offices of Rosspiritprom where we were introduced to a young man (23-28) (I do not remember his name and have not been able to locate his business card, I could see that he answered to Andrei) (later I learned from Igor that he is the son of a high ranking Russian mafia member) the young man informed us that he could assist us with the vodka we were interested in and would arrange for a meeting at the __________. After about 1 hour of conversation we talked further with Andrei and Mikhail (who waited outside during the meeting) outside the building about the seafood business and Andrei informed us that he could assist us, that he owned six ships located in Magadan, Siberia and that Oleg Yakuta “is a good friend and business associate”. We were then invited to dinner.

Yakuta drove us to a restaurant located in the center of the city (not directly). After parking the car we were escorted by a plain closed security guard to a private area where we met up with Andrei and Mikhail and 7-9 associates. After we sat down a conversation commenced about the UAE and the needs of the Royal Family as well as their close ties in that area. One of the men possibly (Victor Bout) sitting across from Maistrenko together with a man of Muslim descent (I do not recall if they stood up thus I do not remember their size) stated to Maistrenko that the UAE Royal family was looking to move 30 billion dollars that was in U.S. Currency out of the Mitsubishi bank in Japan into Euros without the U.S. Government knowing and that they would pay 1 percent for having this done.

Upon hearing this I asked Igor to restate what they needed because I missed part of the communication. The Muslim man overhearing my remarks spoke in English and restated the UAE matter as well as stating that the proposal was very new and that he would have more info latter in the week. I told them that it possibly could be done. Because these people are normally quite secret about their operations, I think that they thought I was an associate of Andrei.

After dinner we were then invited to a private club (located off of Tverskaya near the Statue of Youri Dolgourki) that was owned by Andrei. We were met there by Mikhail and the young man from Rosspiritprom and a number of Andrei’s associates. Oleg Yakuta, the Muslim man and the guy that looked like Bout were not there and we stayed until 4:00AM and were driven back to Oleg’s apartment.

The next day, I talked to Igor about the meeting, about Andrei and Mikhail and if he knew their last name. He told me that he did not but that Oleg told him that Andrei was the boss of the largest Russian mafia family and that even Putin has to listen to him. He also explained that he learned that Andrei spent a number of years in France as well as help Oleg with his precious stone and gold business in Africa. Igor explained to me that Oleg wanted to know about the American marketplace for the stones and gold and if we had the means to move any for him. He further stated that Oleg was doing business with a Swiss bank but it was ending because of too many questions about the origin of the gold and gems. I told him I would look into it. He also explained that these guys (referring to Andrei, Mikhail and Oleg have more money than I could possibly imagine and that their main objective was to create legal businesses as fronts (words to that effect). He went on about how even though they all work together they all have their own legal operations and nonprofit charities.

Later in the day, or possibly the next, a Belarusian who worked for ___________ came to Oleg’s apartment to spend the night before he traveled home to Minsk. He had just returned from Africa and was in the precious gems business. He stated that he was aware of me and my closeness to __________ and the ___________. He stated that Tspekalo was now very high in the government and when was would I be traveling back to Minsk.

A few hours later, Mikhail called Igor and stated that he was going to come over to Oleg’s Apartment to chat with us. When Mikhail arrived he stated that Andrei likes us very much and can help with our endeavors. He also wanted us to meet with Vera Shevshenko, who together with her husband handles all protocol affairs for Vladimir Putin and his Wife Ludmillia. We eventually met with her at the Monolith Club as well as a number of Mikhail’s associates. My conversation with her was of a legal nature and her interest in helping a charity called (For the Health and Spirit of the Nation). During the meeting the Director of a Distillery that Mikhail owns located in The Ukraine sat with us and wanted to know about the liquor industry in America and that they had sent liquor to the USA (eventually Atlanta) but only small amounts. Mikhail also stated that he was going to Canada with Agriculture Minister Gordeev and while there he would also be visiting his Sister and Brother in-law Sergei Bourdin, who needs help finding a job in Montreal. He explained that his brother in-law does not desire to return to Europe and wants to stay in the Montreal area and if I could help him. I told him that I did not know many people in the Montreal area but I would look into it.

Later in the week, Andrei invited us to dinner at a Japanese restaurant. Surrounded by a number of bodyguards and a number of Andrei associates including a Doctor by the name of Andrey S. Peshkov (have business card) who is the Director of the All- Russian Research Institute for Nature Protection and is also with the UN Habitat Organization who provide shelter assistance to people around the world. Igor later informed me that he works for Andrei. At this meeting Igor had a private chat with Andrei.

When the meeting had concluded, I asked Igor if Andrei discussed the UAE deal and he responded that it did not come up but again he repeated that Andrei is looking to establish legal businesses around the world and wants to use a nonprofit organization as well. Igor stated that “we have to show them, including Mikhail, that we have the ability in the USA and Canada”. I asked Igor if he learned the last name of Andrei. If he did, he didn’t tell me. He also explained that he was a partner with Oleg and has been for some time and that these are the very people that run Russia and decide who gets appointed to government positions.

I brought up Wesley Michalczyk, Rafael Farid, and Vladimir Peftiev and if Andrei had any control over him. Igor said that he didn’t know if he knew him but because of Wesley’s arms business that he would have to be approved by Andrei. I stated that Wesley was with Lukashenko who doesn’t answer to Moscow. Igor went on about that most weapons sold by Wesley are made in Russia and that even Borodin has to answer to Andrei.

I asked him about Timofey _______ who use to work at the Russian Embassy in DC. He said no, Pavel _______, who is working with the Belarusian-Russian unity program. Igor further stated: “Ronnie, we need a nonprofit organization not only to show good faith (words to that effect) to Andrei and Mikhail but for power and for you to make money. My friend has started a nonprofit organization in the USA and he now has a lot of power here and he’s also making a lot of money. You told me that you need a source of income to carry you until the Stoli or fish business start to show a profit. This is the way. My friend gets free paint, used cars and a number of supplies in the USA and ships them here and only a small portion are given away for free, and the rest are sold. (Later I learned the name of the non-profit is called North Star which is based out of Framingham, MA. I have only 10 million left in the USA from 20 million I made and I have to find a legal avenue as well”.

I asked him about the money he was making with Oleg and he said “that it does not go to the USA outside of a few watches and rings I myself wear and if you can help Oleg find a way it helps me as well as you”. I responded that “Igor you told me that right now people are trying to get money out of the USA and offering 15 percent if they can.” He replied “That’s true Ronnie for some but people that live there permanently, like Suran Santurian, have to show an income otherwise the IRS will question their lifestyle.”

We met with Andrei again who took us to his health spa. Afterwards we went to the office of Iren Fedorov whose late husband was Svyatoslav Fedorov, a famous Russian physician who died in a plane crash and with Andrei’s help established a non-profit organization to supply medical supplies to needy children in Russia, Africa and elsewhere. She did most of the talking and discussed building a treatment center in Moscow and to fly in children from around the world for treatment. Andrei stated this was very important and if I could assist with things in the USA. Since that time I have been in e-mail contact with Iren but have not finalized a 501-c3 and I firmly believe as I did at the time that this together with the UN sponsored program of Dr. Andrey S. Peshkov are only fronts for the illegal arms and precious gems trade. There are numerous conversations besides the ones mentioned with Igor, Oleg that further bolsters this conclusion.

Andrei is supposed to be related via his sister or cousin to the Royal family in the UK. He has very close ties to the FSB. He has banking ties in the UK as well as in Cyprus. According to ____________, Andrei is one of the most powerful figures in Russia today. Igor told me at the October 16th 2003 meeting that Andrei used someone else with the UAE deal but that we can still gain his confidence if we show him our ability and connections. Igor also stated that Wesley has temporarily stopped arms shipments.

These people are very secretive and I will have to do something in order to win their confidence and I am sure that eventually _____ will appear. I may never learn of his exact home addresses in Moscow and elsewhere but I believe I can learn of the places he goes and his other connections besides the players mentioned as well as substantial information regarding the business deals of all involved I also believe that if ______ gets jammed up he will cooperate. Moscow will resist any assistance with the USA and the other countries in turning over _____ unless substantial pressure is brought to bear and then only after he is located.

Additional information:

The most oft-used monikers for the two groups involved are The Family and the St. Petersburgers.

Siloviki and businessmen

Siloviki (hard. men), Putin's secret-service cronies, also known as the "siloviki."

Alexander Voloshin
Voloshin, who rose to power during the era of former President Boris Yeltsin, in more recent times has served as a kind of one-man bridge between the Yeltsin-era oligarchs and the new security-service elite surrounding Vladimir Putin. Observers speculate his departure could set off a feud between the two groups that could prove severely destabilizing to the Putin government. Voloshin is said to have orchestrated the 1999 ouster of Prime Minister Yevgenii Primakov, who was unpopular with the oligarchs.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky
Khodorkovsky's attempts to garner support from the West (as Vladimir Gusinsky tried to do before him)


Anatoly Chubais, a leader of the Union of Right Forces Anatoly Chubais, whose many hats include being a leader of SPS Unified Energy Systems CEO

Stanislav Belkovsky, seen as one of the ideologues behind the siloviki, Colonel-General Gennady Troshev has been appointed as commander of the operational federal grouping in Chechnya

GORKY – The codename used by Ronald Fino while working in Russia.

Visit Ron Fino's website at and follow him on Twitter @rd615333

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