Russian mafia boss survives assassination bid: prosecutors

17th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

One of Russia's top mafia bosses was shot in the centre of Moscow Thursday but survived the attack, prosecutors said, denying earlier reports he had been killed.

Aslan Usoyan, 73, nicknamed "Grandpa Hassan", and his bodyguard were fired on just several hundred metres (yards) from the Kremlin, an official with the Moscow prosecutor's office told the Interfax news agency.

"They are now in a Moscow hospital. Both are alive," said the official.

Earlier press reports, citing security sources, said Usoyan had been killed. But a police official told Interfax Usoyan's death was purposely announced to ensure his security.

The police official said Usoyan had been hit in the abdomen and was undergoing an operation.

"Grandpa Hassan" is said to be one of the most influential mafia leaders in Russia and controls several criminal groups in the volatile North Caucasus region.

© 2010 AFP

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