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Russian crime ‘lord’ declared persona non grata in north

viktor panyushin
File photo: Viktor Panyushin

Russian criminal Viktor Panyushin, who is wanted in his native country for crimes including kidnapping, severe beating, and illegal organisation of gambling activities, was declared as a persona non grata in the north on Friday.

Panyushin, aged 65 and known colloquially as the “thief in law”, had escaped to the north after being detained in Ukraine subject to an international arrest warrant.

He had in reports in Russia and Ukraine been described as a crime “lord” and the “criminal master of the Kursk region”, an oblast near the Ukrainian border.

After his escape, the Ukrainian authorities had attempted to contact the Turkish authorities, but had “no legal grounds” to contact the Turkish Cypriot authorities as they do not recognise them.

It had been reported as early as February that he may be in the north, but he has now been caught and declared as a persona non grata by the Turkish Cypriot authorities.

In the north’s ‘government’ gazette on Friday, it was declared that Panyushin “is likely to act in a way which would endanger the state or arouse hostility among the people of the TRNC and against the state.”

As happened in the case of Australian gang member Mark Douglas Buddle last year, it is now expected that Panyushin will be deported to Turkey and then onwards to his native country.

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