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Moscow August 18, 2004
Russian in U.S.
Court for Extortion
NATIVE of the Russian city of Voronezh, Lev
Trakhtenberg, (right) has been brought
before court in Manhattan for criminal conspiracy
with the purpose of extortion, the BBC reported
This is a new case against Trakhtenberg. He, his
former wife Viktoria Ilyina and another
Voronezh native, Sergei Malchikov, were
detained in Brooklyn in August 2002. They were
charged with visa fraud and extortion.
According to New Jersey Attorney General
Peter Harvey, quoted by New
York Daily News in June 2004, the three had
"forced" more than 30 Russian women "to dance nude
and perform other abhorrent acts" in strip-clubs of
the state. Trakhtenberg and his accomplices
reportedly made visas for those strippers
fraudulently and later took away most of their
money threatening their relatives in Russia.
Prosecutors say the couple lied on the women's
visas, claiming they would work in popular Russian
show groups or study at the University of Illinois,
the paper wrote. The women's passports were
confiscated to restrict their movement, and those
who tried to leave or refused to pay back their
$5,000 smuggling fee were threatened.
All three initially pleaded not guilty.
Trakhtenberg who produces theatrical shows for
Brighton Beach's Russian community, and his wife
are currently under house arrest. Malchikov, a
former professional boxer who is still in custody,
pleaded guilty in August and agreed to cooperate
with the prosecution.
Trakhtenberg, who arrived in the United States
in 1992 with a master's degree in Russian
literature, denied that the women were taken there
against their will. He said that he and his family
had been forced to take part in the smuggling by
unnamed criminal elements. He alleged his name was
forged on the women's visa documents and that they
lied in the hope of winning residency.
One expert has testified that as many as 8,000
women are smuggled into the region each year to
work in strip clubs, massage parlors or as domestic
servants, the paper wrote.
Real History and
those nice new immigrants next door
slams Israel on sex slavery
of a modern slave trader, Ludwig