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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kadyrov and His Horses Under Fire in Australia

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has come under fire in Australia after it was revealed that two of his elite racehorses would participate in high-profile races in Melbourne this fall.

Senator Bob Brown, leader of the Australian Greens party, said neither Kadyrov nor his horses should be let into Australia because of the Chechen ruler's brutal politics.

"If this nasty character were to get his hands on the Melbourne Cup, it would be the lowest point in Australia's sporting history," Brown said, the Sydney Morning Herald reported Monday.

Kadyrov is sending Mourilyan, a gelding that won this summer's March Stakes race in Goodwood, England, to contest the Melbourne Cup on Nov. 3, the report said.

The contest is the country's most prestigious race, with the winner's prize money worth $3.3 million.

Australian media reports said victory for Kadyrov's horse would be a public relations disaster because the cup is awarded personally by the governor-general, the official representative of Queen Elizabeth II in Australia.

His other horse, thoroughbred Bankable, will start in the $750,000 LKS Mackinnon Stakes race, held Oct. 31.

Kadyrov's spokesman, Alvi Karimov, declined to comment on the reports Monday. "I simply do not know anything about these things," he told The Moscow Times by telephone from Grozny.

Brown, who is also a member of the Australian Senate, said the Chechen president should be denied an Australian visa for a number of reasons.

"Mr. Kadyrov has no criminal record as such because he runs the secret police. But his opponents have been gunned down at home and abroad — including assassinations in Vienna and Dubai in recent times," he said in a statement published on his party's web site (greens.org.au/aggregator/sources/4).

A spokeswoman for Australia's Foreign Ministry said Kadyrov had not applied for a visa, but if he did, it would be hard to imagine him being granted one, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Yet it would be hard to ban the horses from entering, the report said.

Human rights activists say Kadyrov is running Chechnya as his personal fiefdom with the Kremlin's consent. They accuse him of torturing and killing opponents in Russia and abroad. In January, Umar Israilov, a former Kadyrov bodyguard, was murdered in Vienna, and in March, political rival Sulim Yamadayev was gunned down in Dubai.

Yamadayev's shooting coincided with the Dubai World Cup horse race on March 28, and local police later arrested Kadyrov's horse trainer on suspicion of involvement in the killing.

Police also issued an international arrest warrant for a relative of Kadyrov, State Duma Deputy Adam Delimkhanov.

Delimkhanov and Kadyrov have vehemently denied wrongdoing.

Kadyrov reportedly has a horse stable in Dubai, and Mourilyan was trained by South African Herman Brown in Dubai earlier this year, Britain's Racing Post newspaper reported.

Kadyrov's passion for racehorses has raised little public interest so far, even after he sent a record 11 of them to compete around the president's cup in Moscow this July.

His prizewinning stallion Bronze Cannon took a disappointing fourth in the Moscow race, where Kadyrov mingled with President Dmitry Medvedev and other leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Bronze Cannon was bought from British diamond magnate Anthony Oppenheimer, and experts told The Moscow Times that the horse is worth £500,000 to £1 million ($809,000 to $1.6 million).

Kadyrov, who is also known for collecting fancy cars, said in his first public income declaration in May that he earned 3.5 million rubles ($110,000) last year and that his only personal property consisted of a tiny 36-square-meter apartment and a VAZ-21053 car.

"I am a poor Chechen," he told Komsomolskaya Pravda in an interview published last week.

But he added that he did not refuse "anything that the Almighty gave me."

In an earlier interview with the newspaper, Kadyrov had said the horses belong to the Chechen Republic rather than to him personally.