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Killed in the sauna with a crossbow: the mysterious crime of the Russian sausage king

It was already dark on Monday when the assailants entered the garden of the country house where businessman Vladimir Marugov rested. They hid and waited for the meat tycoon and his girlfriend Sabina Gazieva to come to the banya. There, in the wooden hut that houses the typical Russian sauna, they tied up the couple and began to torture the man. They demanded money. With the screams and the struggle, Gazieva took the opportunity to escape and alert the authorities, according to the account of the investigation. When the police arrived at the dacha, about 50 kilometers from Moscow, 54-year-old Marugov, known as the king of sausages Russian, he was dead. They had shot him with a crossbow.

A heinous crime that for many Russians has echoes of the turbulent 1990s, when robberies, kidnappings and even murders were commonplace in Russia. With the main hypothesis of an attempted robbery of the businessman, the police launched a search that ended up locating the car used by the assailants on Tuesday. Inside, the crossbow.

The purchase of this silent weapon and whose acquisition does not require many procedures has led investigators to the main suspect: a 49-year-old man from Kazakhstan who several Russian media have identified as Alexandr Mavridi. His arrest has opened the door to an even darker history of robbery, fraud, kidnapping and murder.

In the search of the apartment that Mavridi had rented in a western Moscow neighborhood, the police located a 65-year-old man handcuffed to the bed. That guy, who said that the suspect was holding him and was extorting him to give him the ownership of his luxurious apartment in the Russian capital, is Alexey Zavgorodniy, a well-known lawyer who in his time defended, among others, the notorious hacker Russian Dima Smely or Alexander Solonik, one of the loudest hitmen of the nineties. With close ties to the Russian mafia, Solonik, with dozens of crimes behind him, was assassinated in 1997 by another hit man in Greece, where he had ended up after fleeing, for the third time, from jail in Russia.

A twist that adds even more mystery to the case of king of sausages and that has set off alarms among some analysts, who see in the fictional plot a sign that after a period of great stability, another era of violent crime may be approaching. An idea also fueled by the death two weeks ago of another businessman, Alexandr Petrov, who had to testify in a fraud case and who was killed by a sniper as he left his banya at the Vyborg summer house, near the Finnish border.

The renowned criminologist Igor Matskevich speaks rather of another wave or a peak, but much less. “The fact that many of those convicted in the 1990s are now beginning to be released from prison may also be a further factor. Not only criminals for robberies or murders, there are also those who were seen behind bars because of their competitors and who are now very offended by their former partners. Many have learned to look at life with philosophy, but there are also those who maintain close connections with the criminal world, ”says Matskevich, president of the Union of Criminologists of Russia, who believes that crime of the king of sausages it is related to their business.

The raiders had little to scratch at Marugov, who had lost almost everything and was drowning in debt. The businessman had created a small emporium with his meat processor El Paraíso de la Carne, and his sausage factories were known throughout the country. That earned him the nickname of king of sausages. But it didn’t last long. After years of unsuccessful gambling, losses, and severe business and family disputes, their companies were officially bankrupt. The businessman left a trail of five million dollars in debts with his creditors, according to family sources. Although people in his business circle say that he still had a few assets, especially real estate, and that he had worked hard with financial engineering to transfer them to his mother and stepfather.

The king of sausages He was not known excessively by the general public in his role as a businessman, but rather by a public brawl with his ex-wife, the well-known poet Tatiana Marugova, with whom he had a son and from whom he parted well. The couple divided up the companies and Marugova and their son stayed in one of the houses that had belonged to the family. A couple of years later the king of sausages He claimed all the assets from them. The lightning and thunder of that conflict aired on some of the sets that drink from the gossip generated by small oligarchs and celebrities of all kinds. Two years ago, after the death of her son in a motorcycle accident in Moscow, Marugova hinted in one of those programs that the businessman had threatened them and the death might not be an accident. The scandal was huge.

And although the main thesis remains theft, that case resonates again now. Marugova knew the suspect in the murder of her ex-husband, as her lawyer has acknowledged to the state agency Tass, which assures that the arrested man made a “technical arrangement in his house” but that they were not related. The poet, who on social media has asked for prayers for the meat tycoon’s soul, has been questioned by the police, but is not considered suspicious.

In Anosino, the cute little residential town where the crime took place, you don’t see a soul. At the town supermarket, the cashier, in her 50s, comments that they did not know Marugov, that the family does not stop by the store; also that nothing similar had ever happened in the town. “The most thefts, especially in stores,” he says.

In the streets of Anosino the typical dachas Russian modernized with English-style mansions. Between pine trees and behind a metal fence is the house of Marugov’s stepfather and the banya where the businessman was murdered on Monday, while his five-year-old son, his mother and her husband were in the main house. The cameras on the fence were not working. The alarm was off and there is also no surveillance behind the property where the killers may have entered, according to the Russian Investigative Committee. The killers, investigators believe, had prepared the ground and carefully planned the assault.