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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 January 2007, 13:24 GMT
Russian murder suspect charged
Russian private banker Alexei Frenkel
Alexei Frenkel's bank was shut down in June 2006
Russian prosecutors have charged the head of a private bank with ordering the murder of the deputy head of the Russian Central Bank, Andrei Kozlov.

Alexei Frenkel, 35, is accused of hiring the gunmen who shot him dead last September. He denies the claims.

It was one of the most high-profile contract killings of recent years.

Mr Kozlov had headed a campaign to clean up the banking sector, during which Mr Frenkel's VIP Bank was forced to close down last June.

The Central Bank revoked the licences of dozens of private banks, accusing them of many forms of criminal activity including money-laundering.

Prosecutors clearly wanted to move quickly on this case, says the BBC's Richard Galpin in Moscow.

RUSSIAN CONTRACT KILLINGS
Oct 2006 - Anna Politkovskaya, Chechnya journalist and fierce critic of Vladimir Putin, shot near apartment
Oct 2005 - former bank head Alexander Slesarev gunned down near Moscow
July 2004 - US editor of Forbes' Russian edition, Paul Klebnikov, shot dead in Moscow
Oct 2002 - Magadan governor Valentin Tsvetkov killed in Moscow
Nov 1998 - liberal MP Galina Starovoitova killed in St Petersburg
March 1995 - leading journalist Vladislav Listyev shot dead in Moscow

They had 10 days to press charges against Mr Frenkel after he was arrested on Monday, but did so within 48 hours.

Mr Frenkel's lawyer Igor Trunov has already appealed against his arrest on health grounds, saying Mr Frenkel needs to see a heart specialist and to have proper medical tests.

Mr Kozlov, who was killed on 13 September while leaving a football match between bank employees in Moscow, was arguably the most high profile figure to be killed under President Vladimir Putin's regime.




SEE ALSO
Obituary: Andrei Kozlov
14 Sep 06 |  Europe



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