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Georgian Boxing Champion Sentenced to 10 Years in US

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, September 10
Georgian middle-weight boxing champion Avtandil Khurtsidze has been sentenced to 10 years in US prison for racketeering and money exportation.

The Radio Liberty reported that the US jury found two members of an organized criminal gang “from the former Soviet Union” guilty of racketeering and other charges in a verdict announced by the US Justice Department on June 19.

Since then the detainees have been waiting for their terms in prison.

The department said the jury unanimously found that the gang's chief, Razhden Shulaya, a Russian citizen of Georgian origin, and his chief enforcer, Georgian citizen Avtandil Khurtsidze, engaged in an array of violent criminal activities that included extortion, theft, trafficking in stolen goods, and fraud, Radio Liberty stated.

Khurtsidze, who was angry about the Georgian government for “no support” and intended to continue his career in Russia, claimed that he would be sentenced for one year as a maximum.

Khurtsidze’s family in Georgia said that they were surprised by the verdict and said that the boxer is innocent.

About a month ago Shulaya and Khurtsidze were stabbed in the Brooklyn Prison.

The Russian media reported that the reason for the incident is unknown, but it stemmed from conflict during a walk between Shulaya and one of the leaders of the Latin American prison gang.

The Crime Russia source says that Khurtsidze suffered the most: they stabbed him in the face.

Khurtsidze was initially facing up to 40 years in prison in the United States for his connections with Shulaya.

Khurtsidze was arrested in New York together with 14 other Georgians on charges of membership of Russian criminal syndicate in July 2017.

Another famous Georgian boxer Levan Makashvili was released soon, while Khurtsidze was sentenced to pre-trial detention.

15 Georgians were among 33 members of a Russian gang who were charged with racketeering, fraud, narcotics, firearms, and stolen property offenses in the United States about a year ago.