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Great Falls fugitive to be extradited to CaliforniaPosted on Oct. 7

Great Falls fugitive to be extradited to CaliforniaPosted on Oct. 7


GREAT FALLS - A fugitive arrested earlier this week at the home of the city manager will be extradited to California to face a kidnapping and extortion charge.

Almazbek Dioshembier, 34, and three other men are accused of kidnapping a 22-year-old entrepreneur in Santa Clara, Calif., and trying to extort profits from his entertainment business. Dioshembier was arrested Tuesday at the home of Great Falls City Manager John Lawton.

Court records state that on Sept. 11, Dioshembier, Leonid Kogan and Igor Vishnevskiy went to a private party hosted by Nikita Kozlovskij, who runs a California-based entertainment company that targets young Russians.

Kogan owns a competing entertainment business, court records said.

The three men allegedly forced Kozlovskij into a car and drove north out of town. Kogan told Kozlovskij that if he didn't pay them 45 percent of his earnings, he could wind up like another Russian entertainment promoter who was shot to death in San Francisco two years ago, court documents state.

They let him go in Belmont, Calif., and told him not to contact police, the records state.

A native of Kyrgyzstan, Dioshembier graduated this spring from the University of Montana with a master's degree in public administration.

Great Falls city officials met him while visiting Kyrgyzstan as part of a cultural exchange program. City Manager John Lawton said in a statement that he was one of Dioshembier's sponsors during his time at UM. While in college, Dioshembier interned with the city of Great Falls for five months.

After graduating, he moved to California.

Court records state Dioshembier was planning to go back to Kyrgyzstan and stopped in Great Falls to say goodbye.

Police learned he was in town, contacted Lawton and got keys to his home.

"Let me assure you, we are not looking at John Lawton," Police Chief Bob Jones said. "He was not involved in any way. There was complete cooperation with any information he had."

Dioshembier waived his right to fight extradition Thursday. Vishnevskiy and Kogan also have been arrested.

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