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The World’s Most Wanted Fugitive is a list published by the American publishing and media company Forbes. The list contains ten fugitives that Forbes, with the help of international law enforcement agencies, deems as the world’s most wanted. The list was first published in April 2008. Subsequently, in August 2008 Forbes published a new list that focused solely on white-collar crime: World’s 10 Most Wanted White-Collar Fugitives. There has been a new list as of May 2011, following the death of Osama bin Laden.

10. Dokka Umarov

Doku (Dokka) Khamatovich Umarov (Chechen: Ӏумар КӀант Доккa; Russian: Доку Хаматович Умаров; also called by the Arabized name of “Dokka Abu Usman”) (born April 13, 1964) is a major Chechen Islamist militant in Russia. He is responsible for numerous attacks on civilians, earning himself the nickname “Russia’s Osama Bin Laden“.

Between 2006 and 2007, Umarov was the underground President of the unrecognized Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (ChRI). He subsequently became the self-proclaimed Emir of the Russian North Caucasus, which is an unrecognized Islamic state known as the Caucasus Emirate. He is currently wanted by Russia for the alleged crimes of kidnapping, homicide and treason. He is one of the major rebel leaders in Russia and has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks, including the 2010 Moscow Metro bombings and the 2011 Domodedovo International Airport bombing. The attacks killed 40 and 36 civilians respectively, and injured hundreds.

On August 1, 2010, Umarov resigned his position and appointed Aslambek Vadalov as the new Emir of the Caucasus Emirate. However, on August 4 he issued a statement “annulling” the previous declaration and stating he would remain in his position. In July 2011, a sharia court ruled in favour of Umarov over the rift, following which the other rebels re-swore allegiance to him.

On March 10, 2011 the United Nations Security Council Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee added Umarov to the list of individuals associated with Al-Qaeda.

09. Joseph Kony

Joseph Rao Kony (pronounced IPA: [koɲ]; born sometime between July and September of 1961)[1] is the head of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a Ugandan guerrilla group. While initially enjoying strong public support, the LRA allegedly turned on its own supporters, supposedly to “purify” the Acholi people and turn Uganda into a theocracy.  Kony proclaims himself the spokesperson of God and a spirit medium, has nurtured a cult of personality, and claims he is visited by a multinational host of 13 spirits, including a Chinese phantom. Ideologically, the group is a syncretic mix of mysticism, Acholi nationalismand Christian fundamentalism, and claims to be establishing a theocratic state based on the Ten Commandments and local Acholi tradition.

Kony has been accused by government entities of ordering the abduction of children to become child-sex slaves and child soldiers. An estimated 66,000 children became soldiers and two million people have been internally displaced since 1986.  Kony was indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, in 2005 but has evaded capture. The LRA operates in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan.

 08. Felicien Kabuga

Félicien Kabuga (born 1935) is a Rwandan businessman, accused of bankrolling and participating in the Rwandan Genocide. He has always claimed he is innocent.

Kabuga was born in Muniga, in the commune of Mukarange, prefecture of Byumba, Rwanda, roughly 30 kilometers off the Rwanda-Uganda Border. Kabuga amassed his wealth by owning tea farms in northern Rwanda, among other business ventures.  A multimillionaire, he was closely connected to Juvénal Habyarimana‘s MRND party and the Akazu, an informal group of Hutu extremists from northern Rwanda that strongly contributed to the Rwandan Genocide.

Kabuga was also allegedly heavily involved in the founding and bankrolling of RTLM, as well as Kangura magazine. In 1993, at an RTLM fundraising meeting organized by the MRND, Felicien Kabuga allegedly publicly defined the purpose of RTLM as the defence of Hutu Power. During the ICTR’s so-called “media trial”, former RTLM presenter Georges Ruggiu named Kabuga as the “Chairman Director-general” of the station, with duties such as “presiding over RTLM” and “representing RTLM.” From January 1993 to March 1994, a total of 500,000 machetes were imported into Rwanda, statistically one for every third adult Hutu in the country. Kabuga has been named as one of the main importers of these machetes. On 29 August 1998, the prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Carla Del Ponte indicted Kabuga. In the amended indictment dated October 1 2004, prosecutor Hassan Jallow, charged Kabuga with:

  • Conspiracy to commit genocide
  • Genocide, or alternatively
  • Complicity in genocide
  • Direct and public incitement to commit genocide
  • Extermination as a crime against humanity.

KTN news network in Kenya reported on June 14, 2008 that Kabuga had been arrested by Kenya Police the day before and is being held at Gigiri Police Station in Nairobi. Later, the suspect was found to be a local university lecturer, not Kabuga as previously thought, and released. It is suspected that Kabuga is in Kenya, and is believed to be running businesses and enjoying protection from either the Kenyan government or some influential figures within the country.

07. Alimzhan Tokhtakhunov

Alimzhan Tursunovich Tokhtakhounov (Russian: Алимжан Турсунович Тохтахунов, b. 1 January 1949 in Tashkent) is a Russian businessman, suspected criminal, and former sportsman of Uyghur origin. He is accused in relations with organized crime and bribing of figure skating judges in the 2002 Winter Olympics. His nickname is thought to be “Taiwanchik,” which refers to his distinctly Asiatic as opposed to European facial features.

Tokhtakhounov was born in Tashkent, Uzbek SSR, in 1949. In early years he was an amateur football player, playing for junior team of Pakhtakor in some seasons. His attempts to continue his career in CSKA Moscow failed and he soon ceased to play. Tokhtakhounov was twice imprisoned: in 1972 and in 1985 for Parasitism.

In early 90’s he left Russia and settled in Paris, France. There he was soon accused in committing illegal business deals and smuggling of hardware from Germany. He was also reported having relations with Russian mafia, including ethnic Georgian mobster Tariel Oniani.

In 2002 Tokhtakhounov was accused in bribery of ice skating judges in the 2002 Winter Olympics. He was arrested in Italy by USA request, but the Italian court denounced the extradition bid and freed Tokhtakhounov. In Russia he was investigated concerning the legality of his Russian citizenship.

He is notably close to professional Russian tennis players. For instance, a 2002 article in the Belgium daily La Libre Belgique  reported on interviews of Russian players following Tokhtakhounov’s arrest in Italy. Yevgeny Kafelnikov defended his “friend”, Marat Safin refused to discuss a topic that was “not his problem” while Anna Kournikova commented “I have heard of this man. But I don’t think I should talk about it. I am Russian and I will have to go back there”. Pressed to say whether Tokhtakhounov could be called a mobster, she answered, “One might say that.”

The United States has a current arrest warrant out for him on fraud-related charges. In 2010, Alimzhan featured in the 2010 documentary Thieves by Law.

06. Matteo Messina Denaro

Matteo Messina Denaro (born April 26, 1962), also known as Diabolik, is a Sicilian mafioso. He got his nickname from the Italian comic book character of the same name. He is considered to be one of the new leaders of Cosa Nostra after the arrest of Bernardo Provenzano on April 11, 2006. Matteo Messina Denaro became known nationally on April 12, 2001, when the magazine L’Espresso put him on the cover with the headline: Ecco il nuovo capo della mafia (“Here is the new boss of the Mafia”). He has been a fugitive since 1993. He suffers from severe myopia and received treatment for this condition at a clinic in Barcelona, Spain, in 1994 and 1996.

Messina Denaro is often portrayed as a ruthless playboy mafioso and womaniser, driving an expensive Porsche sports car and wearing a Rolex Daytona watch, Ray Ban sunglasses and fancy clothes from Giorgio Armani and Versace. He is an ardent player of computer games and is said to have an illegitimate child. Matteo has a reputation for fast living and allegedly killed a Sicilian hotel owner who accused him of taking young girls to bed. As such, he is remarkably different from traditional Mafia bosses like Salvatore Riina and Bernardo Provenzano who claim to adhere to conservative family values.

Matteo Messina Denaro was born into a mafia family in Castelvetrano in the province of Trapani, Sicily. His father Francesco Messina Denaro, known as Don Ciccio, was the capo mandamento of Castelvetrano and the head of the Mafia Commission of the Trapani region. Matteo learned to use a gun at 14, and committed his first of many murders at 18. He is estimated to have killed at least 50 people. “I filled a cemetery all by myself,” he once bragged. He made a reputation by murdering rival boss Vincenzo Milazzo from Alcamo and strangling Milazzo’s three-months pregnant girlfriend.

On May 19, 2011, an attempt to arrest Matteo Messina Denaro failed. Police surrounded a manor farm ten minutes from his hometown Castelvetrano. They were tipped by the secret service Agenzia Informazioni e Sicurezza Interna (Italian for “Internal Information and Security Agency” – Aisi), which had provided useful information for the previous arrests of Mafia bosses Giuseppe Falsone and Gerlandino Messina. However, there was no trace of Messina Denaro.

05. Nasir al – Wuhayshi

Nasir Abdel Karim al-Wuhayshi (also transliterated as Naser al-Wahishi), alias Abu Basir, is a citizen of Yemen and a senior leader of Islamist militant group Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). He once served as Osama bin Laden’s secretary and presided over the January 2009 merger of the Saudi Arabian and Yemeni splinters of Al Qaeda into AQAP. Ayman Al-Zawahiri confirmed al-Wahayshi’s appointment as leader of AQAP in a video posted online. Both Saudi Arabia and Yemen consider the militant leader to be among their most wanted fugitives.

Nasir al-Wuhayshi served as a private secretary to Osama bin Laden for years in Afghanistan. He left Afghanistan in 2001 and was soon arrested by Iranian authorities, who handed him over to his native Yemen two years later where he was imprisoned without charges. In February 2006, Nasir al-Wuhayshi was one of 23 Yemeni captives who escaped from custody from a maximum security prison in Sana’a.

Al-Wuhayshi became the leader of Al-Qaeda’s Yemeni operations after the former leader was killed in a US Predator drone strike in 2002. His authority seems to derive mostly from his long proximity to Osama bin Laden.

Nasir al-Wuhayshi and three other men appeared in several threatening videos released in January 2009. Al Wuhayshi published an additional video calling for violence in February. He claimed the increase in western warships off the Horn of Africa to fight piracy were really intended to oppress Islam. According to Yemeni military officials he was killed in southern Yemen on August 28, 2011. On Oct. 25, 2011, AQAP denied that he was killed.

On December 6, al-Wuhayshi released a statement on jihadist websites that al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsulate would be intervening in the Siege of Dammaj on the side of Salafi students fighting the Shi’a Houthi militia. A member of a local tribe reported on December 22 that Abdel al-Wuhashi, a younger brother of Nasir, was killed by Yemen military forces.

04. Semion Mogilevich

Semion Yudkovich Mogilevich (Ukrainian: Семен Ю́дкович Могиле́вич, tr: Semen Yudkovych Mohylevych, [sɛmˈɛn ˈjudkɔwɪt͡ʃ mɔɦɪˈlɛwɪt͡ʃ]; born June 30, 1946) is a Jewish, Ukrainian-born organized crime boss, believed by European and United States federal law enforcement agencies to be the “boss of bosses” of most Russian Mafia syndicates in the world. He is believed to direct a vast criminal empire and is described by the FBI as “the most dangerous mobster in the world”.

Mogilevich’s nicknames include “Don Semyon”, and “The Brainy Don” (because of his business acumen). He is said to control RosUkrEnergo, a company currently actively involved in Russia–Ukraine gas disputes. Secret US diplomatic cables, released by Wikileaks, describe Mogilevich as the figure in charge of both RosUkrEnergo and Raiffeisen Bank. They also state that Mogilevich has close links to Gazprom, the Russian state energy company.

He is based in Moscow, Russia. He is most closely associated with the Solntsevskaya Bratva crime group. Political figures he has close alliances with include Yury Luzhkov, the former Mayor of Moscow, Dmytro Firtash and Leonid Derkach, former head of the Security Service of Ukraine.  Oleksandr Turchynov, former Prime Minister of Ukraine, went to court for allegedly destroying files pertaining to Mogilevich.  Mogilevich is believed to have ordered many assassinations of his enemies across the world, including both shootings and car-bombs.

In the early 1970s, Mogilevich became part of the Lyuberetskaya crime group in Moscow and was involved in petty theft and fraud. He served two terms (3 and 4 years) for currency-dealing offenses.

During the 1980s, tens of thousands of Ukrainian and Russian Jews were emigrating to Israel on short notice and without the ability to quickly transfer their possessions. Mogilevich would offer to sell property – their furniture, art and diamonds – on behalf of the prospective émigrés, promising to forward the money on to Israel. The money was, instead, used to invest in black market and criminal activities. In 1990, already a millionaire, Mogilevich moved to Israel, together with several top lieutenants. Here he invested in a wide range of legal businesses, whilst continuing to operate a worldwide network of prostitution, weapon, and drug smuggling through a complex web of offshore companies. Until 1998, Inkombank and Bank Menatep participated in a US$10 billion money laundering scheme through the Bank of New York.

Mogilevich was arrested in Moscow on January 24, 2008, for suspected tax evasion. He was released on July 24, 2009. On his release, the Russian interior ministry stated that he was released because the charges against him “are not of a particularly grave nature”. In spite of Mogilevich’s activities and the warrants issued against him, according to the FBI his primary residence is still Moscow.

03. Dawood Ibrahim

Dawood Ibrahim (born Sheikh Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar), also known as Dawood Ebrahim, and Sheikh Dawood Hassan, is the head of the Indian organized crime syndicate D-Company in Mumbai. He is currently on the wanted list of Interpol for organised crime and counterfeiting.

Dawood Ibrahim is accused of heading a vast and sprawling illegal empire in and against India and Indians. After the 1993 Bombay bombings, which Ibrahim allegedly organized and financed, he became India’s most wanted man. According to the United States, Ibrahim maintained close links with al-Qaeda’s Osama Bin Laden. As a consequence, the United States declared Dawood Ibrahim a “global terrorist” in 2003 and pursued the matter before the United Nations in an attempt to freeze his assets around the world and crack down on his operations. The Bush administration has since imposed several sanctions on Ibrahim and his associates. Indian and Russian intelligence agencies have pointed out Ibrahim’s possible involvement in several other terror attacks, including the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, as per Interpol.

Ibrahim Kaskar, the son of a police constable Ali Khan, was born in Mumkaa village in Ratnagiri in the Indian state of Maharashtra on December 26, 1955. He is of Konkani descent. He is said to have begun his career in Mumbai working for the Karim Lala gang exploiting the rapid expansion in the Bombay (now Mumbai) textiles industry to his advantage. He soon moved his residence to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates where he has business interests alongside India. Indian defence intelligence agenciees believe that Dawood and his associates have huge stakes in ship-breaking industry in India and are using these operations for smuggling in arms, explosives and contraband into the country.

Dawood Ibrahim is believed to control much of the ‘hawala‘ system, which is the very commonly used unofficial system for transferring money and remittances outside the view of official agencies. Much of the organisation’s operations are in India.

Ibrahim is widely believed to have masterminded the March 1993 Bombay Bombings. In 2003, the Indian and United States governments declared Ibrahim a “Global Terrorist”. The then Deputy Prime Minister, L.K.Advani described it as a major development and that India stands “vindicated”. Ibrahim is currently on India’s “Most wanted List”.

The United States Department of Treasury has also designated Ibrahim as a terrorist as part of its international sanctions program — effectively forbidding U.S. financial entities from working with him and seizing assets believed to be under his control. The Department of Treasury keeps a fact sheet on Ibrahim which contains reports of his syndicate having smuggling routes from South Asia, the Middle-East and Africa shared with and used by terrorist organisation al-Qaeda. The fact sheet also said that Ibrahim’s syndicate is involved in largescale shipment of narcotics in the United Kingdom and Western Europe. He is also believed to have had contacts with al-Qaeda leader Osama bin-Laden, now dead. In the late 1990s, Ibrahim traveled in Afghanistan under the Taliban‘s protection. The syndicate has consistently aimed to destabilize the Indian government through riots, terrorism and civil disobedience.

At times, Dawood Ibrahim has been linked to the Bollywood film industry, as well as real estate and betting businesses, from which his D-Company is said to derive considerable revenue. He was also rumoured to have had a relationship with Bollywood actress Mandakini, which she denied.

The 2002 Indian film Company is loosely based on his activities, as well as its prequel, the 2005 film D. Other Indian crime films loosely based on Ibrahim and his D-Company include Black Friday in 2004, Shootout at Lokhandwala in 2007 and Once Upon a Time in Mumbai in 2010.

02. Ayman al – Zawahiri

Ayman Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri,  (Arabic: أيمن محمد ربيع الظواهري‎  ʾAyman Muḥammad Rabīʿ aẓ-Ẓawāhirī, born June 19, 1951) is an Egyptian physician, Islamic theologian and current leader of al-Qaeda. He was previously the second and last “emir” of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, having succeeded Abbud al-Zumar in the latter role when Egyptian authorities sentenced al-Zumar to life imprisonment. His wife and three of his six children were killed in an air strike on Afghanistan by US forces in late 2001, following the September 11 attacks on the USA. As of May 2, 2011, he became the leader of al-Qaeda following the death of Osama bin Laden. This was confirmed by a press release from al-Qaeda’s general command on June 16. After the 9/11 attacks the U.S. State Department offered a US$25 million reward for information leading to al-Zawahiri’s apprehension.

Al-Zawahiri is reportedly a qualified surgeon; when his organization merged with bin Laden’s al-Qaeda, he became bin Laden’s personal advisor and physician. He had first met bin Laden in Jeddah in 1986. al-Zawahiri has shown a radical understanding of Islamic theology and Islamic history. He speaks Arabic, English and French. He is under worldwide sanctions by the United Nations Security Council 1267 Committee as a member or affiliate of al-Qaeda.

In 1998, al-Zawahiri formally merged the Egyptian Islamic Jihad into al-Qaeda. According to reports by a former al-Qaeda member, he has worked in the al-Qaeda organization since its inception and was a senior member of the group’s shura council. He was often described as a “lieutenant” to Osama bin Laden, though bin Laden’s chosen biographer has referred to him as the “real brains” of al-Qaeda. On June 16, 2011, al-Qaeda announced that al-Zawahiri had been selected as bin Laden’s successor as al-Qaeda’s former leader had been killed in a US operation on May 2, 2011.

On April 30, 2009, the U.S. State Department reported that al-Zawahiri had emerged as al-Qaeda’s operational and strategic commander and that Osama bin Laden was now only the ideological figurehead of the organization. However, after the 2011 death of Osama, a senior U.S. intelligence official was quoted as saying intelligence gathered in the raid showed that bin Laden remained deeply involved in planning: “This compound (where bin Laden was killed) in Abbottabad was an active command-and-control center for al-Qaeda’s leader. He was active in operational planning and in driving tactical decisions within al-Qaeda.”

Following the death of bin Laden, former Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism Juan Zarate said that al-Zawahiri would “clearly assume the mantle of leadership” of al-Qaeda. But a senior U.S. administration official said that although al-Zawahiri was likely to be al-Qaeda’s next leader, his authority was not “universally accepted” among al-Qaeda’s followers, particularly in the Gulf region. Zarate said that al-Zawahiri was more controversial and less charismatic than bin Laden. Rashad Mohammad Ismail (A.K.A. “Abu Al-Fida”), a leading member of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, stated that al-Zawahiri was the best candidate.

  • al-Zawahiri is under indictment in the United States for this role in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. The Rewards for Justice Program of the U.S. Department of State is offering a reward of up to US$25 million for information about his location.
  • For their leading role in anti-Egyptian Government attacks in the 1990s, al-Zawahiri and his brother Muhammad al-Zawahiri were sentenced to death in the 1999 Egyptian case of the Returnees from Albania.

01. Joaquín Guzmán Loera

Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera (born April 4, 1957) is a fugitive Mexican drug lord who heads the world’s largest and most powerful drug trafficking organization, the Sinaloa Cartel, an organization named after the Mexican Pacific coast state of Sinaloa where it was initially formed. Known as “El Chapo Guzmán” (“Shorty Guzmán“) for his 1.68 m (5 ft 6 in) stature, he became Mexico’s top drug kingpin in 2003 after the arrest of his rival Osiel Cárdenas of the Gulf Cartel, and is now considered “The most powerful drug trafficker in the world,” by the United States Department of the Treasury.

Guzman Loera’s Sinaloa Cartel smuggles multi-ton cocaine shipments from Colombia through Mexico to the United States, and has distribution cells throughout the U.S. The organization has also been involved in the production, smuggling and distribution of Mexican methamphetamine, marijuana, and heroin. The U.S. offers a $5 million USD reward for information leading to his capture. The Mexican government offers a reward of 30 million pesos for such information.

Up until this point the Sinaloa Cartel had been a joint venture between Guzmán and Ismael Zambada García; the methamphetamine business would be Guzmán’s alone. He cultivated his own ties to China, Thailand and India to import the necessary precursor chemicals. Throughout the mountains of the states of Sinaloa, Durango, Jalisco, Michoacán and Nayarit, Guzmán constructed large methamphetamine laboratories and rapidly expanded his organization.

His habit of moving from place to place allowed him to nurture contacts throughout the country. He was now operating in 17 out of 31 Mexican states. With his business expanding, he placed his trusted friend Ignacio “Nacho” Coronel Villarreal in charge of methamphetamine production; this way Guzmán could continue being the boss of bosses. Coronel Villarreal proved so reliable in the Guzmán business that he became known as “Crystal King”.

Guzmán was captured in Guatemala on June 9, 1993, and extradited to Mexico and sentenced to 20 years and 9 months in prison for drug trafficking, criminal association and bribery charges. He was jailed in the maximum security La Palma (now Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 1 or ‘Altiplano’) prison. On November 22, 1995, he was transferred to the Puente Grande maximum security prison in Jalisco, after being convicted of three crimes: possession of firearms, drug trafficking and the murder of Cardinal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo (the charge would later be dismissed by another judge). He had been tried and sentenced inside the federal prison on the outskirts of Almoloya de Juárez, Mexico State.

The police say Guzmán carefully masterminded his escape plan, wielding influence over almost everyone in the prison, including the facility’s director. He allegedly had the prison guards on his payroll, smuggled contraband into the prison and received preferential treatment from the staff. In addition to the prison-employee accomplices, police in Jalisco were paid off to ensure he had at least 24 hours to get out of the state and stay ahead of the military manhunt. The story told to the guards being bribed was that Joaquín Guzmán was smuggling gold out of the prison, ostensibly extracted from rock at the inmate workshop. The escape allegedly cost Joaquín $2.5 million.

After a ruling by the Supreme Court of Mexico made it easier for extradition to occur between Mexico and the United States, Guzmán bribed several guards to aid his escape. On January 19, 2001, Francisco “El Chito” Camberos Rivera, a prison guard, opened Guzman’s electronically operated cell door, where Guzmán got in a laundry cart that Camberos rolled through several doors and eventually out the front door. He was then transported in the trunk of a car driven by Camberos out of the town. At a gas station Camberos went inside, but when he came back Guzmán was gone on foot into the night. According to officials, 78 people have been implicated in his escape plan.

According to the Los Angeles Times, if Guzmán Loera is arrested by Mexican authorities before the Mexican general elections of 2012, his capture may serve as a “sweet trophy” for Felipe Calderón, the president of Mexico, and for the PAN candidate for the presidency, Josefina Vazquez Mota. His arrest would mark the “biggest blow against drug cartels” since Calderón launched a military-led offensive against the criminal groups in Mexico on 2006.

Edgardo Buscaglia, a professor at the ITAM, believes that Guzmán’s capture may also help US President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, since there have been accusations by his political opponents that his government “provided protection” to the Sinaloa Cartel. Eric Olson, from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, considers that Guzmán’s capture may “unleash a bloody wave of violence” between the Sinaloa Cartel leaders and its subgroups for the control of the organization. His capture may also unleash the fury of the Sinaloa cartel and create new criminal organizations.