Crime lord shot dead in Olympic-linked mob war
One of Russia's top crime lords has been gunned down in Moscow in what police described as a war between two powerful mobs over lucrative construction projects, allegedly including ones for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Police said an unidentified gunman fired seven shots from a sniper gun at Aslan Usoyan in central Moscow – the third assassination attempt on him since the late 1990s.
Usoyan, also known as Grandpa Khasan, was a 75-year-old ethnic Kurd born in the former Soviet republic of Georgia.
Police say that 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 as well as many legal businesses, including those in the construction industry.
Usoyan was hit in the jaw, lapsed into a coma and died in hospital. Police said the gunman, who used a state-of-the-art automatic rifle issued to special forces, also injured a passerby.
Usoyan had been at war with a criminal group headed by another Georgian, Tariel Oniani, according to crime experts.