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Mother of Famous Georgian Boxer Says Gov’t Abandoned his Son

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, March 29
(KUTAISI, Georgia)--Mother of famous Georgian boxer Avtandil Khutsidze says that the Georgian government abandoned his son in the US prison and is “taking no steps” to help the athlete prove “his innocence.”

The statement came after the New York Court left Khutsidze in pretrial detention on Tuesday, for being a member of a Russian criminal syndicate.

The defense had been demanding the release of Khutsidze on bail, but the judge did not grant the motion.

"We were surprised when we learned about the court’s decision. Avtandil has not committed any crime. We know only what is said on TV. I have the impression that my son has been abandoned and nobody cares about him, including the government, which is not doing anything," said Makvala Khutsidze.

Khutsidze 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 Khutsidze was sentenced to pretrial detention.

The fifteen Georgians were among 33 members of a Russian gang who were charged with racketeering, fraud, narcotics, firearms, and stolen property offences in the United States last Wednesday.

Federal authorities said that out of the charged defendants, 27 are associated with a nationwide racketeering enterprise led by Razhden Shulaya and Zurab Dzanashvili, both Georgian nationals.

According to the US Department of Justice, Shulaya aka "Brother,” aka "Roma,” is known as a "vor v zakone” – a Russian phrase translated roughly as "thief-by-law”, and which refers to an order of elite criminals from the former Soviet Union who receive tribute from other criminals, offer protection, and use their recognised status to adjudicate on disputes among lower-level criminals.

Khutsidze dismisses the charge.