Who is 'Misha'? Man who allegedly influenced Boston bomber speaks out

'Misha,' a man accused of radicalizing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, reportedly says he had nothing to do with the Boston Marathon bombings.

The veil has been lifted from the mysterious "Misha," the man Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev's family claims had a big part to play in radicalizing him.

Despite days of speculation — which involved rumors about Misha being a red-bearded Armenian Muslim-turned-FBI informant — nothing concrete surfaced until The New York Review of Books reported Sunday that they had found him.

In an interview with NYR's Christian Caryl, Misha, whose real name is reportedly Mikhail Allakhverdov, confirmed knowing Tamerlan Tsarnaev but denied having any role in the Boston bombings.

FBI investigates 2 RI homes with connections to bombers

FBI investigates 2 RI homes with connections to bombers
Duration: 1:13 Views: 1k WCVB Boston

"I wasn't his teacher. If I had been his teacher, I would have made sure he never did anything like this," Allakhverdov said.

U.S. officials said Saturday that there was nothing to indicate that Allakhverdov had anything to do with the Boston bombings.

Tamerlan's uncle Ruslan Tsarni told CNN that Tamerlan had been brainwashed: "It started in 2009. And it started right there, in Cambridge … This person just took his brain. He just brainwashed him completely."

Tsarni's accusations turned the spotlight on Misha for a nation still trying to figure out the motive behind the recent tragedy. Many people tried to search for "an Islamic Svengali" with maliciously persuasive powers, and the FBI said that they were in touch with Misha, although nobody really knew who he was.

Neither The Associated Press nor other news organizations have confirmed that Allakhverdov is indeed the man called "Misha."

The Associated Press reported Sunday that Tamerlan's mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, said that she and Tamerlan were both influenced deeply to follow the Muslim faith by Misha, who, according to NYR, converted to Islam.

Caryl writes that he found Allakhverdov in his Rhode Island home, where he lives with his parents. He describes him of being of medium height with a "thin, reddish-blond beard."

Allakhverdov told Caryl that he had met Tamerlan in Boston, where he lived three years ago, but hadn't been in touch with him since then.

He did not give any details about how he knew Tamerlan or his family, but said that he had never met the family. He also said that he had cooperated with the FBI's investigation.

"I gave them my computer and my phone and everything 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."

What remains unclear is why Tamerlan's family would accuse Misha so strongly.

According to Caryl, Allakhverdov's parents seem like "typical former-Soviet émigrés who had embraced middle class life in the United States," he writes. "The family was welcoming to me but very nervous."


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