Ukraine reveals criminal past of the Head of Crimea

The so-called head of annexed Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov was an active member of the Crimean organized crime group "Salem" in the 1990s and 2000s, who only managed to avoid prison thanks to powerful patrons, as stated in an interview with the Observer news website by the first deputy head of the National Police of Ukraine, the head of the criminal police, Vyacheslav Abroskin.

"In the 90’s, when I first started to work on the investigation in Crimea, the problem with organized crime came to the forefront. The gangs were engaged in racketeering, extortion, robbery... There was also a serious redistribution of business. Privatization of enterprises was taking place at the time... Many were imprisoned and quite a lot of criminals were killed as a result of a war between criminal clans for spheres of influence. By 2006, we finished off the remains of those groups in the Crimea. These were the Salem and Bashmaki gangs,” the law-enforcer reminisced.

According to Abroskin, during those years Sergey Aksyonov was in the field of view of law enforcement.

"He [Aksyonov] was an active member of the criminal group Salem, engaged in extortion, taking away the enterprises. He was known in criminal circles under the nickname "Goblin" and only later ‘took up’ politics," the deputy head of the National Police said.

"Unfortunately, the criminal Aksyonov managed to evade accountability. In the 90's, he was able to get away with it, and when we were dealing with him in 2006 there was not enough direct evidence of his involvement in murder. And yes, thanks to the help of his patrons, he managed to escape responsibility. However we were able to send many members of these two organized crime groups to jail," Abroskin added.

  Aksyonov, Crimea, criminal past of the Head of Crimea, Ukraine