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RIA Novosti

Russia

Top investigator says Berezovsky ordered Politkovskaya's murder

14:20 03/04/2008
MOSCOW, April 3 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian chief investigator has claimed that fugitive tycoon Boris Berezovsky was behind the murder of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, a respected daily said on Thursday.

In an interview published by the Izvestia newspaper on Thursday, Dmitry Dovgy, a chief investigator at the Russian Prosecutor General's Office, claimed that Berezovsky, who lives in London, ordered the murder of the well-known journalist and author of several books critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Dovgy has recently been suspended from his post on suspicion of taking bribes totaling some $4.5 million. However, Izvestia said the interview was recorded before Dovgy was suspended.

Politkovskaya, who gained international recognition for her criticism of the Kremlin and reports of military atrocities against civilians in the troubled Caucasus republic of Chechnya, was gunned down in an elevator in her Moscow apartment building in October 2006.

President Putin responded by saying that the killing, which took place on his birthday, had been carried out by forces seeking to "create a wave of anti-Russian sentiment in the world."

Although he was unable to offer any proof to support his allegations, Dovgy said he was convinced that the murder had been carried out by "Boris Berezovsky, through Khozh-Akhmed Nukhayev," and that her death had been "advantageous" for the former Kremlin insider at that particular moment in time.

Khozh-Akhmed Nukhayev is "a fugitive Chechen criminal gang leader" also accused by the Russian government of ordering the murder of former Forbes editor Paul Khlebnikov in Moscow in 2004.

He also claimed that the murder was connected with Politkovskaya's "articles, as well as her personally."

Dovgy added that the murder was also aimed at undermining confidence in law and order in Russia.

"She was such a strong character, in opposition to the authorities. She met with Berezovsky, and, well, they killed her. They didn't believe that we would solve the case so quickly," he added.

"The organizers [of Politkovskaya's murder] wanted to show that well-known people can be killed here in broad daylight, with the law enforcement agencies seemingly unable to solve such crimes," he said.

Russian authorities announced last week that Politkovskaya's killer had been identified and placed on the country's 'most wanted' list.

Berezovsky dismissed the accusations in an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio.

"This is another attempt to distract the investigation from searching for the real person behind the murder," the tycoon said.

Twelve criminal investigations have so far been launched in Russia against Berezovsky, a one-time close associate of the late president Boris Yeltsin, and he also faces a criminal probe in Brazil.

The businessman has also been accused of plotting to stage a coup in Russia, as well as embezzling $13 million from a leading Russian bank. These two cases were opened in the spring and summer of 2007, respectively.

Russia has issued multiple warrants for Berezovsky's arrest and has repeatedly demanded that the U.K. extradite him. Berezovsky, a business partner of George Bush's brother, Neil Bush, has been granted political asylum in Britain.

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RIA NovostiTop investigator says Berezovsky ordered Politkovskaya's murder

14:20 03/04/2008  A Russian chief investigator has claimed that fugitive tycoon Boris Berezovsky was behind the murder of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, a respected daily said on Thursday. >>

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