In new York, died, the former Odessa Marat balagula Y. the who has served three terms for fraud with debit cards and the tax evasion on gasoline. He had a reputation as the “godfather of Russian mafia”, which basically made him my late colleague Robert Friedman, author of the acclaimed “red mafia,” writes the BBC.
The balagula, who on 9 September marks 76 years, died of cancer. As I said one of his former bodyguards, “he abandoned chemistry.”
In the USSR, the Marat was in charge of the restaurant on the ship “Ivan Franko” that Friedman, despite my protests, persistently called “Ivan Frenkel”. It has traveled dozens of countries and grew rich on the resale of the purchased stuff.
The balagula emigrated to the United States from Odessa in 1977, and settled in Brighton beach in Brooklyn, where he became co-owner of one of the first Russian restaurant “Sadko”, and then “Odessa”, which for many years sang Willy Tokarev. He was accompanied by Irina, Ola, who later became fake wife of Vyacheslav Ivankov, nicknamed Yaponchik and permanently disappeared after his arrest in 1995 in the bowels of the program for the protection of witnesses.
Sold “Sadko” in 1980, the Balagula purchased a gas station in Queens, and then engaged in the wholesale sale of fuel, in the field which has achieved remarkable accomplishments: as shown by the single prosecution witness at his trial, there was a period when the Balagula controlled the entire trade of the “left” of gasoline in the greater new York, where he worked up to 500 people. Under the “left” of gasoline meant the fuel, which does not pay taxes.
Evasion of these taxes in the 1980s in the US was a big criminal business, which cost the Treasury us States literally billions of dollars. The leading role it began to play the Soviet immigrants, which it didn’t invent, but put to a new level. Fronting their own gangsters, and Italian mafia clans.
For example, Balagula took care of a famous clan Lukese, whose killer Joseph Test shot in June 1986, the restaurant “Odessa” of the former Kievan, Vladimir Reznikov (Vadik Reznik), who tried to extort the Balagula petrol money. Reznikov was the most successful “Russian” killer of the era and shot, among others, the writer and the crook of Yuri Brachina as well as the “godfather of Russian mafia”, former Leningrad, kingpin of Evsei Agron.
The balagula readily acknowledged in an interview that his “business partners” took care of Reznikov after he complained about it, but claimed that had no idea about the affiliation of “partner” to “Cosa Nostra”.
On Brighton beach about wealth and the adventures of the Balagula was legendary, who then excitedly told crime reporters. In one of our conversations he told me that the door to his house was worth 10 thousand dollars. Six months later, Balagula said that he I just a Troll — in fact, the door was worth $ 500.
He was actually the Blues. For example, claimed in the same conversation that he had in the account at the time was only $ 8. But, however, asked me to convey to the journalist Friedman that will pay him 100 thousand dollars if he would show him a picture depicting Mikhail Gorbachev together with Balagula. The journalist claimed that Gorbachev saw a birthday party at the Balagula and that this is confirmed by the available photography. The balagula said that the life of Gorbachev nearly did not see.
Balagula first arrested in 1985, not for the machinations of the gasoline and for the Scam debit cards, in which he played only a peripheral role. The following year, a Philadelphia jury found him guilty.
Without waiting for sentence, the Balagula released on bail of half a million dollars, fled abroad and for the next two and a half years had visited many countries, including South Africa and Sierra Leone, where he was unsuccessful, the diamond business with a Shabtaj Kalmanovich, who later was convicted in Israel for spying for the Soviet Union. The balagula about Kalmanovich spoke consistently bad.
In 1989, the Balagula (later telling me that just tired of running, no more hiding) was arrested at the Frankfurt airport and extradited to the USA where he was sentenced to eight years in prison for fraud with cards and twice drew for the “left” gasoline, for which he received a 10 and then almost seven and a half years. In particular, he pleaded guilty to evading taxes on $ 85 million.
In the late 1990s, when he called me from a Texas Federal prison in the restaurants, “Odessa” and “Paradise” because their numbers were included in the approved list, and my no, Balagula, denied the charges and said that admitted only at the instigation of the lawyer, who introduced him astray.
“I’ve always paid taxes! he said. — Do not pay the company from whom I bought the petrol.” Indeed, the tax was supposed to pay shell companies, opened for nominees of owners, of which well-read Soviet immigrants were called “Pounds”.
According to popular myth, the Balagula was headed by the Russian mafia after the murder in 1985 of a lawyer Evsey Agron, although the late indignantly denied me belonging to the thieves world. My relationship with Balagula began to sour in may 1998, when I called in the newspaper the Brooklyn thug Boris Nayfeld, or Biba, his ally.
The balagula had in Brighton of power that explained to me of his wealth and closeness to the source of enrichment, that is to gasoline. About people trading in evasion of the excise tax on fuel, saying, “he’s benzinski” (rarely “colonic”— from the gas station) or “he’s in the gasoline.”
In the last period of life of Agron bytovik of Balagula was much more influential than him and gave him a small room in the sports club “El CARIBE”. Balagula was flattering that he took such a significant figure, but he already had then much more weight than Agron, mutilated until this gangster bullet.
Friedman wrote that Agron nailed 100 million dollars a month, but the last companion Agron, singer Maya Rozov, who worked in the USSR, Oleg Lundstrema, told this writer that “the first godfather of the Russian mafia” there are only 90 thousand dollars hidden in the closet in a Shoe box. The balagula was immeasurably richer, though, assured me that he didn’t have two supertankers or the Islands off the African coast, which was attributed to him by journalists.
“I’m not a beggar, no beggar! he said. — But not a multimillionaire, how they wrote! I have in my entire life, never have a million. One! Understand?”
I understand. But do not believe it.
We met with Balagula when king gasoline was serving the tenth year and was enthralled by the writing of world history.
— I now write to Nicholas, he said.
— And on what sources?
Encyclopedia, books. If I need some book, I write an application. And I give in Austin, the Texas capital, any book. Here the library is very large, again encyclopedia. I have about 10 books on the history of Russia, the book is all about Peter. There are about Catherine the Second.”
If the Balagula completed his encyclopedic work, his fate is not known to me.