|Founding location||Leningrad, Soviet Union|
|Territory||St Petersburg, Lenoblast, part of Novgorod oblast,part of Pskov oblast and part of Karelia|
|Ethnicity||Russian, Russian Jews|
|Membership (est.)||Around 600|
|Criminal activities||contract killing, extortion, loan sharking, prostitution, bootlegging, construction management, money laundering, robbery and theft , now legal businesses|
The Tambov Gang (in Russian: Тамбовская преступная группировка, Tambovskaya prestupnaya gruppirovka) is a large gang in Saint Petersburg, Russia. According to common allegations, it was organized in St. Petersburg in 1988 by two men from Tambov Oblast, Vladimir Kumarin and Valery Ledovskikh. The gang is named after their region of origin. Despite allegations, Kumarin continues to deny his involvement. Originally the gangsters were recruited from people of Tambov origin and sportsmen, and were engaged in a protection racket.
In 1989 the gang clashed with Malyshev's Gang, another leading criminal group of Saint Petersburg, in a bloody armed conflict. In 1990 some of the gang members including Kumarin were jailed for racketeering, but Kumarin was released from prison in 1993. He later briefly allied with Malyshev to fight the Kazan gang from Tatarstan.
In 1993 – 1995 an internal war developed between groups within the Tambov Gang. On June 1, 1994 Kumarin survived a murder attempt in his car but was severely wounded and lost his arm. He continued his recovery in Düsseldorf (Germany) and Switzerland. By 1995 he allegedly had retaken full control over the gang.
By then the gang had incorporated some of the racketed businesspeople and become interested in investment and fuel trading effectively evolving into a mafia. It also helped organizing several private guard enterprises. Some of its members allegedly became members of the State Duma and the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg, as well as a sector opening in Sydney, Australia allegedly being run by Mikhail Klapanov. Even the speaker of the Assembly Viktor Novosyolov gave it his support and maintained close relationships with Kumarin. In 1998 Kumarin became Deputy President of the Petersburg Fuel Company (PTK), the top fuel trading company in the city. In 1994, PTK was administrated by the Saint Petersburg City Administration.
In the autumn of 1999 the status of the gang started deteriorating again. Viktor Novosyolov was killed by an explosion in his car on 20 October.In addition some of its most important members were jailed or killed. Kumarin left his position of PTK Deputy President.
The Tambov Gang now includes several hundred active members.
In August 2001, Interior Minister of Russia Boris Gryzlov said that the Tambov Gang controlled up to 100 industrial enterprises in Saint Petersburg, including PTK, the leading fuel retailing operator in the city, as well as four main sea ports of Northwestern Russia, Saint Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Arkhangelsk and Murmansk.
On 16 January 2007 the Prosecutor General of Russia Yury Chaika announced that the Tambov Gang had recently forcefully taken over 13 large enterprises in Saint Petersburg and was being investigated.
2007 and 2008 arrests
Alexander Malyshev, apparently having resolved his feud with the gang, joined with them instead and moved to Spain to continue operations after several attempts on his life in St Petersburg. Gennady Petrov, a high ranking associate and neighbor to the sister of King Juan Carlos was also arrested. During the police operation, code-named Operation Troika, $307,000 in cash and twenty-three luxury cars were seized. Bank accounts totalling €12 million euro were frozen. Arrests were made in Berlin as well, where a member of the organization, Michael Rebo, was involved in laundering the proceeds of drug trafficking and other illegal activity.
The criminal investigation of 2008 led to further arrests and a major Russian mafia (the Tambov Gang) money laundering scheme be revealed. According to the Bulgarian prosecutor more than one billion euros (1.4 billion dollars) of dirty Russian money had been laundered through a series of financial transactions in Bulgaria and Estonia. The laundered money was, according to allegations, part of the notorious St Petersburg Tambov gang's proceeds from drug trafficking, prostitution and protection rackets. The alleged Tambov Gang money laundering operation was executed by Elizabet Elena Von Messing and Svetozar Milter.
According to the sources, about a billion euros of dirty Russian money were first transferred to a real estate and financial services company in Bulgaria, called Optima Ca. That firm then wired half of the money to the Estonian financial house AS Tavid, which sent the cash back to Russia. The rest of the money was transferred to accounts in Cyprus, Dubai, Hong Kong and other countries, according to the newspaper.
The investigation, which is going on in Bulgaria, is secret. Two persons were investigated in Bulgaria on May 23, 2008, for this case – Elizabet Elena Von Messing and Sverozar Milter. Von Messing is a Russian with Finnish citizenship, had acted as a proxy. The court hearings on the investigation of the two Russians are not open to the public.
- The Jamestown Foundation Archived 2007-09-30 at the Wayback Machine
- 2002 – #15(322) – Expert – Society – Not a word about the past Archived 2007-03-12 at the Wayback Machine
- The Jamestown Foundation
- Research Topics
- The Jamestown Foundation Archived 2006-11-22 at the Wayback Machine
- Генпрокурор: арестованы 27 членов тамбовской ОПГ | Газета.Ru: Между тем
- BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Spain raids 'major Russian gang'
- Испанские СМИ сообщили об обыске на вилле депутата Госдумы РФ Lenta.ru (in Russian)
- The Sunday Herald, Feb 22, 2009