(AllHipHop News) The intriguing story surrounding the death of rapper Lil Phat just took another major turn. Mani Chulpayev, the former Russian mobster who authorities said was directly involved in Phat’s killing, is now claiming that he did not take part in the murder but was actually working for the FBI.
Lil Phat (Melvin Vernell III) was gunned down in an Atlanta hospital parking lot in 2012. Police believe he was killed in a murder-for-hire plot over stolen drugs. Five individuals were arrested for the crime including former college basketball standout Decensae White and alleged gang member Gary “El Dorado Red” Bradford.
Chulpayev was also one of the people charged with Phat’s killing. The ex-mafia member has denied his involvement from the beginning, but he now adds that the role he played in the case was on the side of the government.
In an interview with WSB investigative reporter Jim Strickland, Chulpayev says he was tasked with gathering information about the drug operation for the FBI. He even asserts that it was his contributions that broke the case open.
“The phone records and everything, they got most of the warrants from the judges because of me, because I was a reliable source,” said Chulpayev.
Chulpayev, owner of a luxury car rental service, was accused of providing Lil Phat’s rental car’s GPS tracking information to White, but he insisted that White gathered the information on his own. The two had become business partners after White reportedly invested $160,000 into the company.
A police report reveals that the GPS tracking in the vehicle was retrieved over 20 times. The report also shows that Chulpayev called both the police and his FBI handler, Dante Jackson, after he discovered that one of his cars was used in the crime. He named both White and Bradford as potential suspects.
Chulpayev also claims that not only did the FBI use information gathered from the GPS tracking devices in his vehicles, but also the DEA and Secret Service as well. Many of Chulpayev’s clients were accused drug dealers under federal surveillance.
According to the case report, even though the federal government had access to the GPS tracking, local police did not become aware of the trackers on the car until months after Phat’s murder. The Sandy Springs authorities had to pursue a warrant to retrieve the information.
Jackson is now under criminal investigation by the FBI’s Office of the Inspector General after it became known that he interviewed Chulpayev and did not relay that to the Sandy Springs police either.
“When Dante finally gets under investigation, he disappears, and Mani gets arrested,” said Culpayev. “They were supposed to protect me, not arrest me.”
Chulpayev is scheduled to testify in the Lil Phat murder case. The trial is set to begin in three weeks.