Friday, December 8, 2023

Ramzan Kadyrov racehorse stolen from Czech stable

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Police in the Czech Republic are looking for information on a stolen racehorse owned by the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

Zazou, a thoroughbred worth about £17,000, disappeared from a stable outside of Prague on Friday night, local police said in a statement.

Jezdci, a Czech publication covering horse riding and races, said Kadyrov had purchased the horse in Dubai in 2012 and moved the animal to a stable in the Czech Republic.

Zazou was previously ranked among the best in the world and earned at least €1m (£800,000) in prize money over his career. In 2014, the horse was barred from racing and its winnings frozen after Kadyrov came under European sanctions following Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea.

Jockey Andreas Suborics riding Zazou at Kranji Racecourse in Singapore in 2012. Photograph: Lo Chun Kit/Getty Images

Kadyrov is a close ally of Vladimir Putin and a staunch supporter of the war in Ukraine. On Wednesday morning, the Chechen leader took to the Telegram messaging app, describing the disappearance of the horse as a “great shame”.

“I am worried Zazou might end up in the wrong hands. How did this happen? Where was the security?” he wrote, adding that the true value of the horse was “at least $10m” (£8.5m).

Czech media previously reported that there was an earlier attempt to remove Zazou together with another horse owned by Kadyrov in January last year, shortly before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Reports said two Russian-speaking men arrived at the stud farm claiming they were under instruction to take the horses to Poland, a request that was denied by the farm’s owner.

According to a report by the anti-corruption group Transparency International in 2018, Kadyrov owns at least 128 racehorses, which had won him more than $1.5m in prize money in the previous four years.

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