Sa, 4.02.2023
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Nightclub fire to cover up double murder

Risto Berendson
, uuriva toimetuse juht
Nightclub fire to cover up double murder
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It is one of the more complicated murder investigations of recent years, head of the Northern Police Prefecture’s criminal service Rait Pikaro admits. At the same time the Estonian press wrote about the arrest of head of the Kemerovo group Slava Gulevitš in Spain in connection with drug trafficking in August, Pikaro and his team were working on a double homicide of two of the group’s “brigadiers” in Estonia.

The bodies of the two men who had been missing since the beginning of the year were found in a farm’s well in Kolga-Jaani parish, Viljandi County a few weeks ago. Detectives’ conviction that the two captains of the notorious and violent Kemerovo group had been killed by their acquaintances was confirmed. The authorities arrested two suspects on August 2.

The trail of the double homicide was picked up in the course of another criminal investigation tied to the January 22 fire at the Poseidon nightclub in Tallinn. If at first it was believed the club in the Linnahall building caught fire due to a short-circuit, forensic specialists soon concluded the establishment was set on fire deliberately. A search of the premises yielded large quantities of drugs that led to the owner’s arrest.

Rait Pikaro said that if detectives initially looked into arson, the more evidence and information came to light, the clearer it became they were looking at a far more serious offense. “Some time after the fire, we came across a piece of information that pointed to homicide, and we soon learned a far more serious crime had been committed,” Pikaro said.

The walls of the nightclub have witnessed a lot of things over the years. It was the location of one of the capital’s most infamous nightclubs Lucky Luke in the 1990s where fights between testosterone-filled criminals were almost a weekly occurrence.

However, none of these incidents led to a double murder. The one that did took place on the night of January 16 this year. Four men associated with the most violent Estonian criminal association in history, the Kemerovo group, came to pass the time in Poseidon.

The company had a falling out in the course of which the two suspects (36 and 37 years of age) repeatedly beat and stabbed their opponents. Postimees will not disclose the names of the victims but confirms the men were known in the criminal underworld.

Another man (52) took part in the fight and today stands suspected of hitting the victims and covering up the murders. To hide traces of the crime, the victims’ bodies were taken to an abandoned farmstead in Viljandi County and dropped into the well. The nightclub was set on fire to destroy evidence a week later.

The suspects believed they had done everything they needed to hide the murder of their colleagues. Detectives proved that wasn’t so. The arson investigation gradually took detectives closer to the murders. Police caught the man who had set fire to the nightclub and uncovered several narcotics and violent crimes.

“All these other investigations helped us find the suspects faster,” Pikaro said. He added that lengthy proceedings revealed the mistakes the suspects made in covering up their act.

Northern district prosecutor Eleliis Rattam said the suspects have been punished for criminal offenses in the past, one of them for manslaughter. The prosecutor confirmed that the suspects knew the victims. “Information gathered in preliminary investigation suggests the murders were the culmination of a row that was sparked in the course of consuming alcohol together,” the prosecutor added.

Due to the multifaceted nature of the investigation, authorities refuse to disclose any further motives at this time.