Russian billionaire wanted by Moscow for murder gets asylum in Montenegro

22:23, 23 October 2021
Russian billionaire wanted by Moscow for murder gets asylum in Montenegro Photo: Саид Царнаев/РИА Новости

Telman Ismailov was accused of paying $2 mln for double murder in 2016.

Montenegro had granted asylum to Azerbaijan-born Telman Ismailov on the grounds that the prosecution is politically biased, Ismailov’s lawyer announced on Saturday. The former businessman is wanted by Russian security services for his presumed role in a double murder carried out in 2016.

Ismailov had been arrested earlier this month in Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, on an international arrest warrant but has been released as the Interior Ministry of Montenegro agreed to grant him asylum, according to lawyer Milos Vuksanovic. The official also said that Ismailov was a victim of the Kremlin’s political persecution.

According to Russian media, the billionaire is suspected of sponsoring the murder of two businessmen in Moscow in 2016. He demanded political asylum in Montenegro in September, before the arrest.

Ismailov was the founder of the Cherkizovsky Market in Moscow, the largest in Europe and notorious for neglecting safety standards, accommodating up to 100,000 illegal migrants from Asia and its cheap counterfeits.

In May 2009 Ismailov drew the attention of Vladimir Putin, at that time the Prime Minister of Russia, after he had inaugurated a luxury hotel in Turkey attended by actors Richard Gere and Sharon Stone. Putin then launched a vast anti-counterfeit campaign and shut down the market several months later. Ismailov managed to flee Russia.

The billionaire’s son Alekper Ismailov possesses a casino in Montenegro.