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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 June, 2005, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK
Forbes murder pinned on Chechens
Paul Klebnikov
Klebnikov was a well-known investigative journalist
Russian prosecutors have named a Chechen rebel as the mastermind behind the murder in Moscow last July of Forbes journalist Paul Klebnikov.

Mr Klebnikov, a US citizen who edited the business magazine's Russian edition, was gunned down in the street.

Prosecutors said Chechen fugitive Khozh-Akhmed Nukhayev had ordered the killing in revenge for a book written about him by Mr Klebnikov.

Commentators have previously cast doubt on any likely link to the book.

Charged along with Mr Nukhayev are four other Chechens, two of whom are already in custody.

Viktor Potapov, a spokesman for the Russian Chief Prosecutor's Office, said the investigation into the murder was over.

He named Kazbek Dukuzov (also known as Muslim Ibragimov) and Musa Vakhayev as the two suspects in detention, and said a hunt was on for Mr Nukhayev and two others, Magomed Edilsultanov and Magomed Dukuzov.

According to the prosecutors, the two men in custody carried out the actual murder, while all five were members of the same crime group.

Shock killing

Mr Klebnikov's death caused an international outcry, with speculation that it may have been linked to new investigations he was involved in.

A respected US-born investigative reporter of Russian ancestry, he is thought to have been the first foreign journalist murdered in Russia in a "contract killing".

Conversation with a Barbarian, a book published in 2003, was Mr Klebnikov's account of Mr Nukhayev, written after meetings with him in Baku.

Correspondents say the book painted an unflattering picture of Chechen society and linked its subject to criminal dealings.

But commentators in Russia and elsewhere have expressed doubt that Mr Nukhayev would have taken issue with Mr Klebnikov over the book.

Maxim Kashulinsky, current editor of Forbes in Russia, said on Thursday he had confidence in the investigation into Mr Klebnikov's death but it was now up to the courts to decide.

"I think we should see what the Russian courts will say - only the courts can decide if these people are murderers or not," he added.


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