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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06BISHKEK701
2006-05-11 12:01:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Bishkek
Cable title:  

CRIME FIGURE WITH SUSPECTED TIES TO GOVERNMENT

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  PINS  KCRM  ASEC  KG 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO1169
OO RUEHDBU RUEHDT RUEHLMC
DE RUEHEK #0701/01 1311201
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 111201Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY BISHKEK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7363
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNMCT/MCC THRESHOLD COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 0560
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 1547
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 0203
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/USCENTCOM INTEL CEN MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO BRUSSELS BE PRIORITY
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE PRIORITY 1929
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 1311
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHDC PRIORITY
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BISHKEK 000701 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR DS/IP/EUR MIKE RANGER, DS/DSS/IP JANE
COLON, DS/IP/SCA, DSS/ITA, DS/ICI/PII, DS/OP, S/ES-O/CME,
DS/ER/CC, DS/DSS/OSAC, DS/NEA/SA F. SCOTT GALLO, DS/DSS/IP
KATIE PARSONS, DS/DSS/ITA JUDITH MCGINLEY, DS/IP/SA SCOTT
BULTROWICZ, DS/IP/NEA DONALD WEINBERG

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/10/2016
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINS KCRM ASEC KG
SUBJECT: CRIME FIGURE WITH SUSPECTED TIES TO GOVERNMENT
MEETS (VERY) BLOODY END

REF: A. BISHKEK 503

B. BISHKEK 186

C. 05 BISHKEK 1555

Classified By: DCM Donald Lu, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)



1. (C) SUMMARY: According to press reports and the Interior
Ministry (MVD), notorious mob figure and parliamentary
candidate Ryspek Akmatbayev (reftels a and b) was killed by
unknown persons on May 10 approximately 12 kilometers outside
of Bishkek. According to the MVD, Akmatbayev was shot 28
times by two gunmen while exiting a mosque in the village of
Kok-Jar. Two children inside the mosque at the time of the
attack were also wounded by stray bullets. Over the past
eight months, Akmatbayev had come to symbolize the alarming
new visibility and power of organized crime in Kyrgyzstan, as
well as the growing links between criminal figures and the
government. His violent death, although certainly
predictable, was a great relief to many in the Kyrgyz
government. It remains unknown whether his death was tied to
the removal earlier that day of National Security Service
(SNB) Chairman Aitbayev, who was suspected by many of being
Akmatbayev's protector. However, the timing of the murder )
only hours after Aitbayev's dismissal ) is highly suspect.
END SUMMARY.

VIOLENT END TO A VIOLENT MAN


--------------------------





2. (SBU) According to various reports, Akmatbayev was gunned
down in the village of Kok-Jar, approximately 12 kilometers
south of Bishkek in the Alamedin Valley. PolOff, unaware of
what had transpired two hours prior, drove by the mosque
where Akmatbayev had been shot; there was a crowd of about
100 just outside the front doors and about 30 cars parked
nearby. MVD sources reported that two gunmen jumped out of a
dark Audi and shot Akmatbayev 28 times using Kalashnikov
rifles. Akmatbayev's numerous bodyguards reportedly ran away
as soon as the shooting started, but quickly returned and
stuffed his dead body into a car before driving away to
Akmatbayev's hometown of Cholpon-Ata in Issyk-Kul Oblast.
Akmatbayev was reportedly buried less than a day later, on
May 11. (Note: It is not yet known whether any senior
government figures attended the funeral. Several cabinet
officials and ranking parliamentarians attended his brother's
funeral seven months ago. End note.)

MVD MINISTER: AKMATBAYEV'S CRIME NETWORK IS FINISHED


--------------------------



--------------------------





3. (C) On May 11, Interior Minister Sutalinov told the
Ambassador that police had recovered the car used by
Akmatbayev's killers. He said three Kalashnikov rifles were
found inside, but that only two had been used. Sutalinov
said that the police had a suspect (a mob rival of
Akmatbayev's), but that no arrests had been made. He
predicted Akmatbayev's family and associates would not cause

any trouble, claiming "they've got no money, and without
Ryspek the crime network is finished." Sutalinov confirmed
that Akmatbayev was buried at 1400 on May 11.

NO PERSON, NO PROBLEM


--------------------------





4. (C) COMMENT: Many in Bishkek are breathing a huge sigh
of relief at the death of Kyrgyzstan's most feared man.
Beginning shortly after the death of his brother Tynychbek in
October of 2005 (reftel c), Ryspek Akmatbayev came to play an
increasingly visible and destabilizing role in Kyrgyz
politics, with his parliamentary candidacy (and the

BISHKEK 00000701 002 OF 002


President's refusal to stop him) coming to symbolize
organized crime run amok, with government complicity. That
the government was unable or unwilling to rein him in, along
with the fact that President Bakiyev and other officials
repeatedly refused even in private to condemn Akmatbayev
(while defending and even praising him publicly) led many
observers to believe that Bakiyev was either blackmailed by
or otherwise beholden to Akmatbayev. In the end, there is no
question that Akmatbayev had become a major political
liability for President Bakiyev, due to the significant
damage he had done to Bakiyev's image.



5. (C) COMMENT CONT'D: Although Akmatbayev had countless
enemies in the criminal underworld, it has not gone unnoticed
that he was killed the same day President Bakiyev sacked SNB
Chairman Tashtemir Aitbayev. Political observers in Bishkek
are almost unanimous in their belief that Akmatbayev and
Aitbayev were somehow linked (the two actually spoke face to
face in public during a March 31 Ryspek-led demonstration in
Bishkek), with many claiming that Aitbayev had for years been
acting as Akmatbayev's "krysha" (his protector, in Russian
mob slang). Many had speculated that even the perception
that Akmatbayev was being protected by either the SNB or the
Presidential Administration served to shield him from his
many criminal rivals. In this sense, Aitbayev's dismissal
could have been tantamount to giving Akmatbayev's mob-world
enemies a green light to go after him.



6. (C) COMMENT CONT'D: It remains altogether possible that
senior government figures were likewise somehow involved,
though no specific information is known at this time that
would support such a theory. Akmatbayev had threatened to
kill Prime Minister Kulov. Minister of Interior Sutalinov
has spoken passionately about his hatred for Akmatbayev, whom
he blames for the killing of a fellow senior police officer.
The fact that Akmatbayev's considerable security detail
turned and ran at the first sign of trouble could imply that
they too might have been somehow involved in the murder.
Regardless, Akmatbayev's death is likely to be a great relief
to the Bakiyev Administration.



7. (C) COMMENT CONT'D: It is less clear what will happen
next. According to MVD contacts, Akmatbayev's family and mob
underlings, having lost their leader, are running scared and
are unlikely to cause any trouble in the near future.
Akmatbayev's death could well cause a near-term scramble for
control of his considerable business assets and organized
crime network, touching off yet another round of tit-for-tat
mob killings. It is also unclear as yet what role, if any,
Akmatbayev's remaining brother will try to play. On the
other hand, his death could also lead to an easing of
tensions between President Bakiyev and the opposition, in
that Bakiyev's unwillingness or inability to stop Akmatbayev
had become one of the opposition's primary rallying calls
against Bakiyev.
YOVANOVITCH