Gang gets up to life in jail for Russian sports official murder - 2

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MOSCOW, September 29 (RIA Novosti) - The Moscow City Court on Monday sentenced members of a gang accused of the high-profile early 1990s murder of sports official and reputed mafia boss Otari Kvantrishvili to prison terms ranging from 11 years to life.

Oleg Pylev, assumed leader of the Orekhovo-Medvedkovo criminal group, was sentenced to life imprisonment in a high-security facility, while the actual killer, Alexei Sherstobitov, was given 23 years. Kvantrishvili headed the Sportsmen Social Protection Foundation.

The remaining two participants in the crime were given 11 and 13 years.

The prosecution and victims' representatives said they would not appeal the verdict.

"The only thing to be mentioned is that certain episodes have not been solved in full, but we hope in the long run all those guilty will be punished," a representative of the victims said.

Lawyers for the convicted men said they would appeal the verdict in the Russian Supreme Court.

According to certain sources, Kvantrishvili organized "criminal protection" for Moscow businessmen in exchange for 10% of their revenues. Some experts believe money was laundered through companies headed by Kvantrishvili, and that he controlled all gambling business in Moscow in early 1990s, while also taking a cut from the activities of a number of banks and commercial organizations.

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