Alimzhan Tokhtakhunov (a.k.a Taiwanchik or Little Taiwanese), who is on the Forbes list of 10 most wanted fugitives (based on the information of American security services), has been interviewed by Radio Liberty/Free Europe.
In the interview he said that he was engaged in business and philanthropic activities for long, but it all went badly due to the crisis. He said he was looking for a new sphere to imply his business skills and expertise. Currently Taiwanchik stars a new film called MUR and continues writing. He has already finished two books.
His business abroad did not go well, he said, because in the West he had a reputation of mobster. This was unfair, he said. He did not obey the law, because he did not know it. Taiwanchik complained about being put on the international wanted list: “They kept nagging at me, put my data in all computers without having evidence against me. I have never been detained for criminal connections or real crime”. He illustrated his words by the episode from his life which shows how European security agencies dealt with him. When Tokhtakhunov lived in Rome, he got ill. A friend from Tashkent rang him up and advised that he should eat some Uzbek pilau, small grapes (kishmish in Uzbek) and big Tashkent pomegranates. His telephone talk was bugged and when Taiwanchik was summoned for questioning, the investigator asked: «What for do you need granades in Italy?». «Kishmish they translated as hashish. I was accused of arms selling and drug dealing», said Taiwanchick.
He said that the police tried their best to prove that he was an international crime leader and fixed Utah Olympics, because if they had not done it people would have said the police worked in vain.
Taiwanchik also said that he dreamt about going into politics. «Thanks goodness, I have not become a politician. My reputation was spoilt by convictions. If they wish they will shut their eyes to some facts. If not, they will recall of everything». Taiwanchik himself recalled of how he met Vladimir Putin in Monte Carlo, when Putin was deputy mayor of Saint Petersburg. «There was something inside him, a sort of personal charm. When I was abroad, they used to say Putin is in Kremlin. But I said I saw him in Monte Carlo».
Reference by the Russian Mafia (rumafia.com): Taiwanchik was mentioned in the media in relation to the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. The US police suspected him of bribing figure skating judges. In August 2002 Alimzhan Tokhtakhunov was arrested in Italy and the Italian government was ready to extradite him, but the court of appeal overturned the verdict. Alimzhan Tokhtakhunov case has not been closed in the USA. The Interpol issued international arrest warrant for him over fraud charges.