Investigators trace Politkovskaya killing to Berezovsky

A Russian newspaper has reported that the suspected mastermind of the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya has told investigators that he probably acted on orders of Boris Berezovsky.

According to Kommersant Daily, the suspect, former police officer Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov agreed to cooperate with justice and gave a detailed report on what he knew. Earlier this month the Russian press reported that the man had plead guilty to murder conspiracy.

Pavlyuchenkov said that the main organizer of the killing, Lom-Ali Gaitukayev, was negotiating with the person who ordered the killing of the journalist in Ukraine as at that time this person was barred from entry to the Russian Federation. Pavlyuchenkov said that he did not know the name of this person but suspected that this could be the businessman Boris Berezovsky.

Pavlyuchenkov also said that the one who ordered the hit on Politkovskaya had insisted that it is carried out before Vladimir Putin’s birthday on October 7 and best of all on this day. However, investigators have not yet officially announced Berezovsky’s complicity in the case.

According to Russian law enforcers, Lom-Ali Gaitukayev got an order to kill journalist and human rights activist Anna Politkovskaya in July 2006 and for this created a criminal group, including a former chief of the fourth division of the Moscow City Police Operational Search Department Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, a former officer of Moscow Police Directorate for Fighting Organized Crime Khadjikurbanov and two more people. Kommersant reports that in the nearest future investigators plan to question other suspects in the case who had been also detained.

On Friday the Investigative Committee refused to comment on Berezovsky’s possible involvement in the killing. Berezovsky himself told Kommersant that the new developments were not a surprise for him as Vladimir Putin already in times of his presidency said that the roots of the crime must be in London. At the same time, Berezovsky refuted the allegations that he could be behind the hit and said that he does not know who Gaitukayev is.

Berezovsky has been sentenced to prison in absentia in Russia on charges of embezzlement, fraud and money laundering, has been living in self-imposed exile in the United Kingdom since 2001. At some point Berezovsky received a refugee status in London and a passport in which he changed his name to Platon Elenin. He remains a staunch critic of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and all Russian authorities and politics.

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