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Contract Killings


Friday, 18 January 2008

Andrei Kozlov

Andrei Kozlov, 41, the top deputy head of Russia's Central Bank, was shot on as he left a corporate football match in northern Moscow. He had spent years crossing swords with money-launderers and the Russian mafia's bankers, and had direct oversight of the entire Russian banking sector.
He and his driver were attacked as they left a sports stadium, and appear to have had little chance to defend themselves. Mr Kozlov was shot in the head and the chest, and died from his wounds in the early hours of yesterday morning, leaving behind a wife and three children.
Police say there is no doubt that the murder was a professional "hit". His driver was "finished off" with a shot to the forehead, suggesting that the assassins got the two men confused.
Mr Kozlov is the most senior official to have been murdered in a contract killing since the President, Vladimir Putin, came to power six years ago, and the government is interpreting his murder as an attack on the system itself. "[His murder] is an impudent challenge to the Russian government," said Anatoly Chubais, chairman of UES, Russia's state power company.

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