Chechen Crime Boss Atlangeriyev Abducted

A reputed Chechen crime boss whose partner has been linked to the murder of investigative journalists Anna Politkovskaya and Paul Klebnikov has been abducted in Moscow, Kommersant reported Monday.

Movladi Atlangeriyev, founder of the so-called Lazanskaya crime group, was attacked by two unidentified men as he left the Karetny Dvor restaurant in central Moscow on the evening of Jan. 31, Kommersant cited a restaurant security guard as saying.

The assailants forced Atlangeriyev, 54, into an awaiting Porsche Cayenne at gunpoint and drove away, the security guard told Kommersant.

Moscow's Presnensky District branch of the Investigative Committee has opened a criminal investigation into the abduction but has made no progress other than making a composite sketch of the assailants, the newspaper said.

Calls to the Investigative Committee's press office for comment went unanswered Monday.

Atlangeriyev's friends and relatives have heard nothing from him or the kidnappers since the abduction, Kommersant reported.

Atlangeriyev, known alternately by the nicknames "Lord," "Lenin" and "The Italian," figures in almost every chronicle of the Soviet and Russian underworld of the 1980s and 1990s.

Together with Khozh-Akhmed Nukhayev, another reputed Chechen crime boss, Atlangeriyev is thought to have organized Moscow's fragmented Chechen groups into a unified gang.

His name has surfaced in recent years, most recently in connection with Nukhayev, whom authorities have accused of ordering the 2004 murder of Klebnikov, editor of Russian Forbes magazine, and the 2006 murder of Politkovskaya, an investigative reporter with Novaya Gazeta.

In an interview published in Izvestia on April 3, senior Investigative Committee official Dmitry Dovgy accused Nukhayev and self-exiled businessman Boris Berezovsky of ordering Politkovskaya's murder.

In an interview he gave to Klebnikov in 2000, Nukhayev said the gang he controlled together with Atlangeriyev had been protecting Logovaz, Russia's leading car dealer, which was controlled by Berezovsky in the 1990s.

In the early 2000s, Atlangeriyev cooperated with Russian law enforcement officers in their dealings with Chechen separatists, said Novaya Gazeta deputy editor Sergei Sokolov.

Atlangeriyev is currently being held in Chechnya against his will but will be released in a month or two, a source who knows him told the Rosbalt news agency Monday.