Avtandil Khurtsidze Busted for Racketeering; Bye Bye Khurtsidze vs. Saunders

Avtandil Khurtsidze was arrested yesterday (June 7) in New York on charges of violating the federal RICO Act. Passed by Congress in 1970 as a tool for fighting organized crime, RICO is officially the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

Khurtsidze was slated to fight WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders at London’s Copper Box Arena on July 8th. That fight is now off. Here is the official statement from Queensberry Promotions head Frank Warren, the event’s promoter:

“Today, Queensberry Promotions were informed that Billy Joe Saunders’ mandatory challenger Avtandil Khurtsidze was yesterday arrested in New York indicted under the RICO Act.

As such, his contest with WBO World Middleweight Champion Billy Joe Saunders scheduled for Saturday 8th July at the Copper Box Arena, cannot take place on that date as his promoter Lou DiBella has confirmed he will be unable to travel.

We are currently planning to postpone the fight to a later date. However, due to the obvious seriousness of this matter, Queensberry Promotions are given no choice but to wait for more details to emerge before anything can be confirmed.”

The five-foot-four Khurtsidze (32-2-2, 22 KOs) was developing a cult following on both sides of the Atlantic. He had trouble finding opponents after brutalizing previously undefeated Antoine Douglas in March of last year, but returned to the ring in April, taking the measure of hometown hero Tommy Langford in Leicester, England. He stopped the previously undefeated Langford in the fifth round to earn a date with Saunders (24-0, 12 KOs), who would be making the second defense of the WBO middleweight title he won from fellow Irish traveler Andy Lee.

The fight was highly anticipated because of the contrast in styles. Saunders, who would have had a seven-inch height advantage, dismissed Khurtsidze as a “puffed-up Danny DeVito” at a pre-fight press confab, but in Khurtsidze – whose style has been described as prehistoric – he would be meeting a rough customer.

Khurtsidze hails from the Republic of Georgia in the former Soviet Union. He moved to the United States in 2014, settling in Brooklyn. The Brighton Beach neighborhood of Brooklyn purportedly has the highest U.S. concentration of Russian Mafia. Khurtsidze is alleged to be affiliated with this criminal syndicate. He was one of 23 individuals arrested in the June 7 dragnet, a joint effort of the FBI, the New York Field Office of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency, and the New York City Police Department.

Regarding the arrests, Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, released this formal statement:

“The dizzying array of criminal schemes committed by this organized crime syndicate allegedly include a murder-for-hire conspiracy, a plot to rob victims by seducing and drugging them with chloroform, the theft of cargo shipments containing over 10,000 pounds of chocolate, and a fraud on casino slot machines using electronic hacking devices.”

The charges against Khurtsidze are vague, consisting of RICO conspiracy and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Both crimes carry a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. By and large, those found guilty of violating RICO receive long sentences.

Avtandil Khurtsidze turned 38 last month. He had a short window in which to maximize his earning potential as a professional boxer. That window just got a lot shorter.

Photo credit: Amanda Westcott

Avtandil Khurtsidze

COMMENTS

-deepwater2 :

Danny Devito is done. I think his crew tried to beat me for a few hundred years back. I remember like it was yesterday. A good looking women made conversation with me while I was smoking a cigar by the west side highway. I took her number , met her for a few drinks, good time. She said she was a bartender and come drink with her one night. I did. The night was the night of the Pirog Jacobs fight. I showed up to the address and shook my head. I knew better but still went in. It was a damn strip club and the bouncer said they had hbo. I went in ,the girl told me drinks on her but she needed a credit card. Damn it I'm about to get scammed . Ok . I'm already in, have a whiskey in front of me and a bunch of strippers bothering me. What do I do. I travel with two credit cards. A high limit Amex and a dud capital 1 with a $500 limit. I handed over the dud card and was yelling like a maniac while pirog did his damage. A few rounds (whiskey) later I noticed strange stares from the bouncers-Russian goons. I watched Jacobs get knocked out whilst getting the strippers into the fight. Never had a lap dance but the girls liked watching the fight. Fight and Party over. I went to the bathroom and called the credit company and said I lost my card . They said that's funny because because I just called 3 times in the past hour, trying to get my limit raised. I knew it! Walked outta the bathroom, a tipsey Irish New Yorker with a smile on my face. The girl was gone from behind the bar. The strippers were on the other side of the club barely visible. 3 Russian goons were there to escort me out the back. I gave em $100 cash and said nice try! I'm with the Howard beach guys! Instead of beating me up or trying, they figured I knew someone at the least and their scam fizzled out. My detective buddy from major crimes said I was lucky I tricked them- they are notorious for low level sex extortion crimes. I could have been tazed and my kidneys sold on the black market. Please - don't ever go to a strip club and leave a credit card. If you do , a guy like Danny devito, will be waiting to take you out back.


-ArneK. :

Great post, deepwater 2. For awhile there, TSS turned into True Confessions and I loved it. And great advice for any of our readers who visit strip joints. You don't get this stuff from Dear Abby. There was one error in the story I wrote. The crime-busters had warrants for 33 alleged Russian Mafia guys, but located and arrested only 23. Years ago, there was a concoction called a Mickey Finn, supposedly named for a bartender in Chicago's vice district. The drink put a man to sleep so the bartender, or his female accomplice, could rob him. The women referenced in the New York indictment were said to have used chloroform as their Mickey Finn. I'm guessing this required the assistance of a goon. It's unclear whether the syndicate actually stole 10,000 pounds of chocolate or the feds had evidence that they were plotting this theft. Wow, that has to rank as one of the most unusual heists in the history of organized crime. Okay, so how does one go about fencing 10,000 pounds of chocolate? Or do these Russian Mafia dudes just have a sweet tooth for chocolate?


-ArneK. :

Great post, deepwater 2. For awhile there, TSS turned into True Confessions and I loved it. And great advice for any of our readers who visit strip joints. You don't get this stuff from Dear Abby. There was one error in the story I wrote. The crime-busters had warrants for 33 alleged Russian Mafia guys, but located and arrested only 23. Years ago, there was a concoction called a Mickey Finn, supposedly named for a bartender in Chicago's vice district. The drink put a man to sleep so the bartender, or his female accomplice, could rob him. The women referenced in the New York indictment were said to have used chloroform as their Mickey Finn. I'm guessing this required the assistance of a goon. It's unclear whether the syndicate actually stole 10,000 pounds of chocolate or the feds had evidence that they were plotting this theft. Wow, that has to rank as one of the most unusual heists in the history of organized crime. Okay, so how does one go about fencing 10,000 pounds of chocolate? Or do these Russian Mafia dudes just have a sweet tooth for chocolate?