'Misha': I Didn't Turn Tamerlan Into a Terrorist

'Mystery radical' says he is cooperating fully with investigation

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 28, 2013 11:50 PM CDT | Updated Apr 29, 2013 7:46 AM CDT

(Newser) – The New York Review of Books has scooped a swath of less literary publications by tracking down "Misha," the man family members blame for radicalizing Tamerlan Tsarnaev. "Misha"—real name Mikhail Allakhverdov—now lives in Rhode Island and says that while he knew Tsarnaev in Boston, his contact with him ended upon leaving the city around three years ago, and he had nothing whatsoever to do with the bombings.

"I wasn't his teacher. If I had been his teacher, I would have made sure he never did anything like this," says Allakhverdov, a convert to Islam of Armenian-Ukrainian descent. He says he has never met the family members who accuse him of "brainwashing" Tsarnaev, and he has cooperated fully with the FBI. "I gave them my computer and my phone and everything," he says. "I wanted to show I haven’t done anything. And they said they are about to return them to me. And the agents who talked told me they are about to close my case."

In this Feb. 17, 2010, photo, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, left, smiles after accepting the trophy for winning the 2010 New England Golden Gloves Championship.   (AP Photo/The Lowell Sun, Julia Malakie)
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