Police officers in Brno arrested extortionists connected with the Ukrainian mafia

Ondřej Kořínek

During an operation in Brno on Tuesday evening, seven people were arrested by special detectives from the National Central Office Against Organized Crime (NCOZ). The suspects are suspected of extortion and were acting as an organized criminal group. The group was headed by a 53-year-old man, a high-ranking member of the violent Ukrainian mafia known as the Lukhany Brigade.

The detectives arrested five men and two women. One of them is the longtime girlfriend of the main suspect. While the men were supposed to get rich by collecting “ransoms,” which the police classified as extortion, the women not only knew about the group’s activities but more importantly, the money collected was laundered through their accounts.

Under the threat of violence or other harm, the suspects demanded that the victims make regular monthly payments of thousands of crowns, declaring that in return, they would provide them with protection from other criminal groups allegedly operating in the same area, detectives described.

But apparently, there were never any other criminal groups, and the suspects only pretended their presence. The payments collected were used by the suspects solely for their personal use, detectives pointed out. The extortion was allegedly carried out by receiving between five and ten thousand Czech crowns from the victims per month, either in cash or into the account of one of the women.

The detectives have identified such behavior in nearly two dozen victims, with the total damage estimated at 2.5 million so far. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. “It is only those who were courageous enough to testify truthfully against the suspects. But it is almost certain that there are more victims.

“But probably they are not testifying out of fear for their health and property, “detectives explained. They are suggesting that the group is also involved in other criminal activities, such as drug trafficking or dealing in uncoated cigarettes.