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Profile: Russian mob boss Boris Nayfeld

By David Amoruso

Russian mob boss Boris Nayfeld (photo above) just can’t stay on the straight and narrow, nor can he keep his mouth shut. In January, prosecutors in the Southern District of New York charged the notorious gangster and coconspirator Boris Kotlyarsky with an extortion plot in which the two men sought payment from a victim who they claimed Nayfeld had been hired to murder.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara explained the scheme as follows, “Boris Kotlyarsky and Boris Nayfeld conspired to extort $125,000 from a victim, claiming that Nayfeld had been hired to murder the victim.”

In October of last year, Kotlyarsky told the victim, who runs an international shipping business in Newark, New Jersey, that a Russian businessman had approached infamous mob boss Boris Nayfeld with a contract to kill him in exchange for a $100,000 payment. Kotlyarsky offered to broker a meeting between the victim and Nayfeld at which he could make things right and cancel the contract.

The following months, Kotlyarsky arranged a series of meetings between the victim and Nayfeld. During these meetings, Nayfeld told him, among other things, that the businessman had transferred $50,000 to Nayfeld as partial payment on a contract for his murder, and that it was good that Kotlyarsky had intervened on the victim’s behalf. Nayfeld told the victim to pay him $125,000 due January 15. 

At a meeting on January 14, the victim met Nayfeld at a restaurant in Brooklyn, New York, to finish up business. He wanted assurances from Nayfeld that no harm would come to him after he had paid him the money. Nayfeld then called the businessman who supposedly had ordered the hit and told him, aloud, that the victim should not be touched or he would punish the businessman.

After that, the victim wrote Nayfeld a check worth $50,000 without specifying a recipient.

Easy money, Nayfeld must’ve thought. Right up until the moment he exited the restaurant and was swarmed by law enforcement officers. When he saw them come at him, he cursed and tore up the check as fast as he could.

A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE

Try as he might, Nayfeld continues to have trouble evading indictments. He has been a fixture in New York’s Russian underworld since the 1980s. Starting out as the bodyguard and enforcer for mob boss Evsei Agron, Nayfeld was always looking for ways to move up in the world. When he was approached by Marat Balagula, another crime boss, to join his crew and help set up Agron, he saw an opportunity. Nayfeld switched sides and in May of 1985 a hitman shot Agron twice in the head, leaving his dead body in the streets.

After Marat Balagula was sent away to prison, Nayfeld began asserting himself as the main Mr. Big in New York’s Russian mob. He fought a bloody war with rivals in the 1990s and narrowly escaped death himself on quite a few occasions. On February 14, 1991, he discovered an unexploded bomb under his car and decided to lay low in the Belgium city of Antwerp, while his troops roamed the streets of New York.

In Belgium, Nayfeld organized several lucrative smuggling routes with other Eastern European gangsters, including a heroin pipeline that stretched from Thailand, where he acquired the drugs, to Singapore and on to Poland, from where it was shipped to the United States and sold to distributors in New York.

American authorities were onto the ring, however, and in January of 1994, they shut it down, charging Nayfeld and several others with the smuggling, distribution, and sale of heroin.

An article in the New York Times, describes the period following, "In recent years, [...] Mr. Nayfeld started cooperating with investigators to avoid prosecution."

And now, 22 years later, Nayfeld returns to an American prison. Some people never change. Allegedly, of course.

SNITCHING PART 2

UPDATE: On October 12, 2016, Nayfeld made yet another familiar move: He flipped on his codefendant. The New York Post reported that Nayfeld signed a plea agreement. Asked by the judge if he would "truthfully and completely disclose all information with respect to yourself and others about which the US Attorney’s office is asking of you?"

Nayfeld answered, "Yes."

"And the US Attorney can use that information for any purpose?" the judge asked.

“Yes,” Nayfeld answered.

“And you are agreeing to testify if asked to testify?”

“Yes,” the fallen mob boss said.

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