Following a spell in Brooklyn Detention Center, former world-ranked fighter Avtandil Khurtsidze has been handed a ten-year jail sentence for his part in an organized crime ring.
The 39 year-old, who was arrested on the eve of a title challenge at middleweight against Billy Joe Saunders, had been awaiting sentencing for over a year.
In a Manhattan federal court, details emerged of the charges against Khurtsidze, who was recently the victim of a serious knife incident where the Georgian was stabbed in the face.
No reason was given for the attack, although Khurtsidze and Shulaya were described as ‘having multiple hematomas and wounds’ during the proceedings.
The trial ultimately determined Khurtsidze and the rest of the syndicate’s fate after a huge crackdown on organized crime by the FBI and Customs in 2017.
As well as Khurtsidze, 26 other men were arrested, including MMA fighter and former UFC star Levan Makashvili.
In 2017 when the arrests were made, the US Department of Justice released the following statement on The Shulaya Enterprise.
The Shulaya Enterprise was an organized criminal group operating under the direction and protection of RAZHDEN SHULAYA a/k/a “Brother,” a/k/a “Roma,” a “vor v zakonei” or “vor,” which are Russian phrases translated roughly as “thief-in-law” or “thief,” and which refer to an order of elite criminals from the former Soviet Union who receive tribute from other criminals, offer protection, and use their recognized status as vor to adjudicate disputes among lower-level criminals.
As a vor, SHULAYA had substantial influence in the criminal underworld and offered assistance to and protection of the members and associates of the Shulaya Enterprise. Those members and associates, and SHULAYA himself, engaged in widespread criminal activities, including acts of violence, extortion, the operation of illegal gambling businesses, fraud on various casinos, identity theft, credit card frauds, and trafficking of large quantities of stolen goods.
The Shulaya Enterprise comprised groups of individuals, often with overlapping members or associates, dedicated to particular criminal tasks. While many of these crews were based in New York City, the Shulaya Enterprise had operations in various locations throughout the United States (including in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Nevada) and abroad.
Most members and associates of the Shulaya Enterprise were born in the former Soviet Union and many maintained substantial ties to Georgia, the Ukraine, and the Russian Federation, including regular travel to those countries, communication with associates in those countries, and the transfer of criminal proceeds to individuals in those countries.
— The operation of illicit poker businesses in Brighton Beach;
— The extortion of gamblers who became indebted to the Shulaya Enterprise;
— Attempts to extort local business owners;
— Efforts to defraud casinos in Atlantic City and Philadelphia by using electronic devices and computer servers to predict and exploit the behavior of electronic slot machines;
— The theft of cargo shipments, including a shipment containing approximately 10,000 pounds of chocolate confections;
— The use of a female member of the Shulaya Enterprise to seduce men, incapacitate them with gas, and then rob them;
— Attempts to create an after-hours nightclub that would host, among other things, the sale of narcotics;
— The transportation and sale of numerous cases of untaxed cigarettes;
— Plans to pay bribes to local law enforcement; and
— Creation and use of forged identification documents, checks, and invoices.
Khurtsidze, whose last fight was against Briton Tommy Langford, has also been ordered to undertake two years of probation upon release.