His stallion Zazou had been held captive in the Czech Republic for nearly a decade under anti-Russia sanctions
The head of Russia’s Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, has revealed he paid Ukrainian intelligence services to get his racehorse back. The horse, named Zazou, had been held in the Czech Republic since 2014, having fallen victim to sanctions imposed on Kadyrov by the West following Crimea’s reunification with Russia.
The stallion was reported stolen earlier this year, but the ‘theft’ affair turned out to be a ruse, Kadyrov revealed on Monday. The horse vanished from stables in the village of Krabcice, near Prague, in early March.
“At the beginning of the year, representatives of the Ukrainian secret services approached me through intermediaries, offering to ransom Zazou out,” Kadyrov wrote in a Telegram post. “They knew about my attachment to the horse – of course, I agreed. To be honest, I thought that Zazou would be handed over somehow officially, with the sanctions lifted from him or something like that.”
The whole plan, however, turned out to be merely a corruption scheme, under which Ukrainian intelligence effectively bought the stallion from local law enforcement, with its disappearance blamed on unknown thieves.
“They simply staged his theft from a stable in the Czech Republic in collusion with the Czech police. Let me remind you that it seemed strange to everyone back then how an expensive horse could simply disappear. It turns out it can,” Kadyrov added.
The return of the horse cost ‘only’ $18,000, the Chechen leader revealed. At the time the ‘theft’ was first reported, Kadyrov estimated Zazou’s true worth at around $10 million. The now 16-year-old thoroughbred was reportedly originally bought by Kadyrov in Dubai back in 2012.
“Thus, friends, if you need to bring something from Europe, contact the Ukrainian special services. Quickly, professionally, inexpensively, circumventing sanctions!” the Chechen leader concluded. Zazou is now “heading home,” Kadyrov said without revealing the exact whereabouts of the pricey horse.