2016-05-04 / Front Page

Second Man Convicted In Astoria Extortion

By Liz Goff
A 40-year-old Queens man was found guilty on April 26 of extorting “protection payments” from three Astoria restaurant and nightclub owners.

Redinel Dervishaj was found guilty after a trial in Brooklyn Federal Court, where prosecutors presented evidence that he coerced payments from the business owners in 2013 and 2015.

Prosecutors said Dervishaj, the brother of one of Albania’s “most wanted” criminals, told a man who had just opened a restaurant in Astoria that he would have to fork over cash to operate the business “in our neighborhood.”

The restaurant owner turned to a friend, disgraced ex-NYPD Officer Besnik Liakatura, who advised him to pay the protection money because  “These people run Astoria,” prosecutors said. The restaurant owner was unaware that Liakatura was working with Dervishaj, prosecutors said.

Dervishaj and another man, Denis Nikolia, threatened to beat up one of the victims in front of his wife and children if he failed to pay, prosecutors said.

Liakatura, who was assigned to the 120th Precinct on Staten Island at the time of his arrest, pleaded guilty to extortion in December and is awaiting sentencing.

Nikolia is awaiting trial on extortion and other charges.

 

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