Operation Pabail 2003: Malta-linked properties at the heart of Soho prostitution racket

Report on the Soho-Mayfair prostitution racket at Greek Street and other properties 

Guilnara Gadzejeva and Olga Chukanova
Guilnara Gadzejeva and Olga Chukanova

Three people were found guilty in 2004 at Harrow Crown Court following a five month investigation by the London metropolitan police’s Vice Unit into a lucrative crime business involving brothel premises in Mayfair and Soho.

Operation Pabail started in February 2003, culminating in a number of premises in Central London being raided in July – brothels operateding on an almost 24 hour basis and using women from predominantly Eastern European countries.

The persons charged and found guilty included Guilnara Gadzijeva, 36; she was sentenced to six years in total on six counts of controlling prostitutes and two years to run concurrently for two charges of false imprisonment.

52, Greek Street, London
52, Greek Street, London

Her husband Vethasalem Muruganathan, a shopkeeper, of Gunnersbury Avenue was sentenced to three years in total for six counts of living off immoral earnings.

Olga Chukanova, 30, a Russian of High Street, Acton, received three and a half years in total for five counts of controlling prostitutes.

Gadzijeva was the driving force behind the operation, recruiting women from Lithuania, Moldova, and other Eastern European countries, who were duped as to what they were expected to do in the UK, expecting to be employed as domestics.

Gadzijeva would arrange false identification documents and travel arrangements for the women. She and Muruganathan, would meet them on their arrival to the UK, and take them to a holding address in Acton, to be indoctrinated before being made to work as prostitutes.

Once in the UK, Gadzijeva would instruct the women to make bogus asylum applications.

The women were controlled through fear and coercion, and if they did not comply with her working conditions, she would issue threats against their families back home in their country of origin.

Chukanova was employed as a trusted maid to control the day to day running of the premises.

The five brothels were lucrative and made several thousands of pounds from the exploitation of the women. The women lived at the brothels and as such they were open 24 hours a day. The couple lived a lucrative lifestyle; on one occasion they purchased a car with £24,000 in cash which they had carried to the car showroom in a holdall.

Police recovered some £750,000 from the houses and searches of safety deposit boxes.

PC Carlo Narboni, of the Vice Unit said: “These three defendants were ruthless in the way they exploited an immeasurable amount of women. They led a flamboyant lifestyle, and while they were eating a meal at a restaurant costing £1,300, the women were around the corner earning money for them. This conviction shows that we will not tolerate this type of crime.”

Brown leather diary

Documents seen by MaltaToday list ‘Eve’ as having been a receiver of rent. Notes taken by the lawyers in court indicates that Gadzejeva would pay Eve Bajada $4,000 a month.