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Vasily Khristoforov

Drug trafficker and Russian organized crime figure Vasily Khristoforov was designated by the US Treasury in 2017 as a representative of the “Thieves in Law,” a Eurasian transnational criminal network.

According to the Treasury, Khristoforov, who is also known as Vasya Voskres or “Vasya the Risen,” owns two properties in Novgorod, two more in Moscow, and a luxury apartment in one of the most expensive high rises in Dubai.

He is also a “crowned” thief, indicating his authoritative position in the criminal underworld, and has three convictions. The Treasury says he participated in three gatherings or “skhodki” with other top thieves in 2013, 2015, and 2017 and that he “used his authority” to increase the stature of other members.

During such meetings, members discuss which divisions will control specific criminal spheres, how to respond to law enforcement, the crowning of new members, and punishments for those who violated the group’s customs and traditions.

Khristoforov was first designated in 2012 as a member of the Brothers’ Circle, a name U.S. authorities used to refer to a criminal network of thieves-in-law that operated throughout the former Soviet Union, Europe, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates.

Russian organized crime experts such as Mark Galeotti have told OCCRP that the Brothers’ Circle is not an organization, but rather a way for authorities to group together Russian-speaking crime figures who have worked together and are active in the UAE.

Thanks to his authority in the organization and his experience raising funds for the clan, Khristoforov became a possible candidate to succeed Zakhary “Shakro the Younger” Kalashov as the highest-ranking thief-in-law after the former leader’s arrest, according to a 2017 report by Rosbalt. According to more recent reports, the top position eventually went to another member, though Khristoforov will be tasked as a leading fundraiser.

Khristoforov appears in a leaked database of property and residency data compiled by assorted real estate professionals, obtained by the non-profit group C4ADS, and provided to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). He is shown in connection with an apartment in the Jumeirah Beach Residence, which includes 36 residential towers in the heart of the Dubai Marina surrounded by jewelry stores, beach clubs, tailors, high-end residents and night clubs.

Apartments in the same tower range from approximately $416,000 for a two bedroom apartment to over $2 million for a penthouse.

This story is part of the Global Anti-Corruption Consortium, a collaboration started by OCCRP and Transparency International. For more information, click here.