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New leader must have authority abroad

Ingušš Ahmed PHOTO: Äripäev/Erakogu

Alleged rival of murdered organized crime boss Nikolai Tarankov, Ahmed, believes the next leader must have authority among his peers, as well as acceptance abroad.

Ingushian Ahmed PHOTO: Äripäev/Erakogu

Ingushian Ahmed is believed to be the man who represents organized crime outside the so-called common treasury in Estonia. His power is alleged to go far beyond what appearances would suggest, with much of his authority deriving from international crime. More specifically a network of Chechens stretching from the Gulf of Finland to the Black Sea.

Ahmed, who was convicted of blackmail and imprisoned in the late 1990s (in connection with an argument concerning ownership of a mayonnaise factory) has been keeping a low profile and steering clear of public attention for the past decade.

The only time Ahmed entered the media's sphere of interest since was six years ago when a group of Estonian investors lost a lot of money after a real estate development ran aground on the Golden Sands in Bulgaria. Ahmed has brokered several business transactions as a behind the scenes operator. One example is rumored to be the sale of Russian fuel giant Lukoil's gas stations in Estonia.

While the extent of his influence is a matter of endless debate, one thing is for certain: Ahmed has an Estonian residence permit and very powerful supporters in Russia.

He has been described as the local representative of Russia's thieves in law.

The murder of godfather Tarankov a week ago quickly raised the question of who could take over Tarankov's throne, and whether it could be Ahmed. Eesti Päevaleht described him quite directly as the person who has the most to gain from Tarankov's death. We looked up the infamous Ahmed and asked him six questions in connection with Tarankov's death.

Ahmed has never given an interview to Estonian journalists before. Truth be told, only two leaders of the criminal world have ever opened up to journalists, and even that took place in the now far-away 1990s. They were the later murdered metal king Mihhail Gorbatšov and Meelis Lao. Everyone else who spoke to the media were smaller fish.

Therefore it was surprising when the middleman returned with Ahmed's written answers on the very next day.

How do you comment on claims that you benefit the most from Nikolai Tarankov's death?

That question should be put to the person making such claims, as they should know who perpetrated the crime. I gain nothing from his death.

We were good acquaintances, friends even. He was a just person who always tried to solve problems in a peaceful way.

My condolences to friends and family.

What was your relationship with Tarankov?

We got along well. As it happens, people sometimes feel differently on certain matters; however, we always found a peaceful solution.

Who could be interested in killing Tarankov?

A man of his position always has a lot of enemies; however, it it difficult to say right now. It is too soon to say anything before we know the results of forensic analysis.

I am interested to learn who would benefit from his death myself. It would be even more interesting to learn who ordered the article from wife of former central criminal police chief Kärt Anvelt the day after the murder. One cannot help but think that Tarankov's removal could have benefited someone from higher up, so as not to say state authority.

How did you learn that Tarankov had been killed?

From the media, news.

What will this act change for Estonian organized crime?

Largely nothing. To avoid changes, the new leader must match his predecessor in terms of authority at home and acceptance abroad. Only then is it possible to keep things in order.

Will you attend Tarankov's funeral?

I plan to.

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