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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

FBI Tracks 4 Suspects to Russia

FBI officials are in Moscow this week asking investigators for help in tracking down reputed crime bosses that are thought to be hiding in Russia, Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported Thursday.

In meetings with Interior Ministry officials, the agents from Washington are discussing the whereabouts of four fugitives, including Konstantin Ginzburg, whom they regard as the leader of the Russian mafia in the United States, the government newspaper said, citing a source in the Interior Ministry.

A ministry spokesman said Thursday that he could not comment on the report. A U.S. Embassy spokesman also refused to comment. The embassy's legal attache is the FBI's official representative in the country.

The FBI is also interested in locating reputed mobster Yevgeny Dvoskin, wanted since 2003 when a New York court indicted him on charges of securities fraud and laundering $2.3 million, according to earlier media reports.

In 1995, Dvoskin shared a U.S. prison cell with Vyacheslav Ivankov, one of the country's most notorious reputed crime bosses, better known as "Yaponchik," the Rosbalt.ru news site reported last week.

Dvoskin, a native of Ukraine, was arrested last summer in Monaco and was involved in a "shady banking business in Russia," the report said. Currently, he is a witness in a multibillion-dollar money-laundering case, Rosbalt.ru and Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported. The only publicly known money-laundering case of such dimensions is the Russian government's $22.5 billion lawsuit against the Bank of New York Mellon, which is currently being heard by a Moscow court.

Ginzburg, who is 37 and goes under the nickname "Gizya," is believed to be the leader of organized crime groups from former Soviet countries in the United States, a position once claimed by Ivankov, the reports said.

"The FBI hopes to get detailed information about all of Ginzburg's connections and to establish how dangerous he is for the U.S.," both reports said, citing no one.

The remaining two suspects sought by the FBI, Viktor Vulf and Alexander Gribov, are suspected of defrauding U.S. citizens of millions of dollars. Vulf has been accused of setting up fraudulent firms together with his wife, Natalya, and making off with $50 million, the news reports said.

Rosbalt.ru reported that the couple had set up a Florida real estate firm, Sky Development Group, which is thought to be behind a massive real estate fraud scheme uncovered in 2006.

U.S. media at the time reported that a Russian-born couple calling themselves Victor and Natalia Wolf had set up a firm by that name and sold property in Florida's Citrus County that the company did not really own.

The Wolfs slipped out of the United States in October 2006, leaving more than 100 fraud victims and taking more than $20 million from fraudulent transactions, the Florida-based St. Petersburg Times reported in December of that year.

Most of the victims were from the Russian-speaking immigrant community, the paper said.

Gribov was linked to a ruse where a fake mail-order pharmacy claimed insurance payments in New Jersey and New York for psychiatric treatments that never happened. He and a suspected accomplice, Boris Sokh, are thought to have collected more than $2.5 million before the scheme was uncovered in 2006. The reports said Sokh was arrested and Gribov fled the country.

The FBI's chances of getting hold of the suspects were unclear. Russia has in the past regularly refused to extradite its citizens on the grounds that the Constitution forbids it.