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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russian Mobster Caught In FBI Brooklyn Probe

NEW YORK -- A top boss of the Russian mob who set up shop in Brooklyn after illegally entering the United States three years ago was arrested early Thursday on extortion charges, the FBI said.

Vyacheslav Ivankov, 55, whose reputation as an intellectual, courtly mobster belies his Siberian prison time for robbery, illegal firearms possession, forgery and drug trafficking.

He was one of nine people charged in the case, said FBI spokesman Joe Valiquette.

Ivankov was one of six people arrested; the other three remain at large. The charges stemmed from a federal probe of Russian organized crime activity in Brooklyn.

Authorities gave no details on the charges, pending an afternoon news conference.

Ivankov slipped into the United States sometime in late 1991 or early 1992, using a doctored passport.

He established himself in Brooklyn's "Little Odessa" section under a pseudonym.

The borough has become a second home to a growing number of Russian-American crime groups as Russian mobsters attempted to establish an international crime cartel between their new home and their homeland, investigators say.

Russian authorities said Ivankov was one of the top three or four crime bosses, controlling thousands of criminals through a dozen or so underbosses.

When he was released from prison in March 1991, Ivankov left Siberia aboard a chartered plane and was welcomed home by his colleagues with a splashy party at Moscow's Metropol Hotel, investigators say.

A report in the Interior Ministry's weekly Russian Police Digest describes Ivankov as a wiry, neatly attired, courtly man with a reputation as an intellectual. For some young Russians, he has an almost romantic image.