The Prosecutor's Office is seeking a long prison sentence and expulsion from Estonia following the serving of this sentence for Vyacheslav Gulevich, 59, alias Slava Kemerovski, who is accused of heading the so-called Kemerovo criminal group.
State Prosecutor Vahur Verte said that the guilt of Gulevich, a Russian citizen, in forming and leading a criminal organization has been proven and that the defendant should be sentenced to 12 years in prison. Verte also found that Gulevich should be expelled from Estonia and subject to a ten-year entry ban after serving the sentence, and sought the confiscation of €141,000 in criminal proceeds.
Defense lawyer Vladimir Sadekov, however, said that his client's guilt has not been proven in any way, and that he must be acquitted in the extent of all charges brought against him. Sadekov also said that there was no information indicating that Gulevich poses a threat to the Republic of Estonia, and thus the prosecution's request to have him expelled from Estonia is unjustified.
The prosecutor found that defendant Aleksandr Kozlov must also be found guilty of leading the mob group and is seeking a 12-year sentence, to which a yet-unserved four year sentence from a previous court ruling would be added, as well as the confiscation of €50,000 in criminal proceeds.
According to the prosecution, another seven men should also be found guilty of being members of the criminal group and sentenced to 6-14 years in prison each, and €46,000 and €36,000 in criminal proceeds, respectively, should be confiscated from two of them.
All of the defendants' respective defense lawyers found that their clients' guilt has not been proven and that their clients must be acquitted in the extent of all charges brought against them.
The court hearing the case has reached the stage of hearing final statements from the defendants, after which it will set a date for the ruling.
Altogether six men have previously received 4-8 years in plea deals in the same case.
According to the charges, the Kemerovo group was involved in drug-related crimes and extortion as well as offered its protection to businessmen with criminal backgrounds.
Estonian prosecutors conducting the investigation, which began in early 2016, worked together with Spanish police on the case, and the first public procedural acts were conducted in the summer of 2017, when four suspects were arrested in Estonia and Spain in a joint police operation.
Gulevich, who is suspected of leading the criminal organization, was arrested by Spanish police in early August 2017 in Mijas, Province of Malaga, and extradited to Estonia a month later, where he was taken into custody.
"Organized crime is characterized by a very high level of conspiracy — group leaders do not commit crimes themselves, and members of the organization do their utmost for their actions and communication between them to take place as clandestinely as possible," Verte previously explained. "This means that the gathering of evidence also happens piece by piece over a long period of time."
Ago Leis of the Central Criminal Police previously said that by indicting members of the Kemerovo criminal group that has been active in Estonia for decades, law enforcement authorities are sending a strong signal to organized crime.
The criminal investigation was conducted by the Central Criminal Police under the leadership of the Office of the Prosecutor General.
Editor: Aili Vahtla