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Daghestani ‘mastermind’ of gold magnates abductions arrested in Ghana

31 August 2018
Headquarters of Geo Professional Services in Accra, Ghana (/Google Maps)

A Daghestani businessman was detained in Ghana on Monday accused of orchestrating the kidnap and torture of two other Daghestani businessmen. Man allegedly called Vagif Musayev, who goes under the name, Vladimir ‘Wolf’ Nabiyev, allegedly organised the kidnappings after a dispute over a gold mining business.

Online journal African Development Magazine cited Ghanaian police as saying Vagif Musayev orchestrated the kidnapping of brothers Ramazan and Arsen Kafarov, also from Daghestan, and held them in captivity from 8 August 2017 to 30 April 30 2018. The Kafarovs operated gold mining business Geo Professional Services in Ghana.

On 17 June, Daghestanis Musa Musayev — Vagif’s cousin — and Razakan Sultanov were detained by Ghanian police for allegedly kidnapping and torturing the Kafarovs. According to African Development Magazine, Musa Musayev and Sultanov were in possession of illegal weapons when they were detained. Both men denied their guilt. The prosecution claimed that other people were involved.

‘Torture and staged photo shoots’

Ramazan Kafarov was allegedly abducted in the capital Accra by several people in a police car who shouted ‘Interpol’, blindfolded him, and took him away. His brother Arsen was abducted later. The two said they were tortured in captivity, and asked to pay $18 million in exchange for their release.

Describing his detention, Ramazan Kafarov said they were starved for weeks, tortured, and sometimes dressed up and photographed against the backdrop of a richly laid table or near the Russian Embassy in Ghana and other public places in order to conceal the kidnapping.

According to Ghanaian police, on 31 October 2017, the kidnappers coerced Ramazan Kafarov into signing over power of attorney over his properties, including his business — gold mining company Geo Professional Services — six cars, and jewellery stores. As a result, Musayev and Sultanov began to sell his property.

According to African Development Magazine, the Kafarov brothers managed to escape captivity on 30 April and find refuge in the Russian Embassy in Ghana.

‘Business partnership’

Vagif Musayev, who has now been arrested, was a business partner of Ramazan Kafarov for 15 years. Due to disagreements with Kafarov, in 2010 Vagif left Ghana.

According to Daghestani daily Chernovik, Kafarov claimed Vagif Musayev was engaged in fraudulent schemes in Ghana, attracting investors and deceiving them. Kafarov also claimed that he was laundering money using bank accounts of a company belonging to his cousin, Musa Musayev.

According to Chernovik, Russian businessman Vladimir Rudenko, co-founder of major food packaging company Atlantis-Pack, also was involved in the Kafarovs’ kidnapping. In 2011, he sold his shares of the company and invested $2 million in Ramazan Kafarov’s gold mining venture.

After suing Kafarov accusing him of fraud, in January 2014, a Moscow court awarded Rudenko  $60.4 million from Kafarov.

At the same time, the police in the Rostov Oblast, where Rudenko’s company is based, opened a criminal case against Kafarov and put him on an international wanted list. Kafarov was detained in Accra in 2015 but a Ghanaian court declined to extradite him. As reported by Chernovik, Kafarov claims Rudenko has ties with the authorities in Rostov.

According to Kafarov, after Vagif Musayev learnt about Kafarov and Rudenko’s conflict, he contacted Rudenko and promised to lure Kafarov to Russia, but after failing to do so, travelled to Ghana himself instead.

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