Russian Ex-Cops Kidnap, Kill Austrian Lawyer

An Austrian lawyer linked to Russian organized crime was kidnapped and accidentally killed by two former Russian policemen with a criminal record, Kommersant daily reported on Saturday.

The body of Erich Rebasso, who went missing in Vienna in late July, was recently unearthed in a forest outside the Austrian capital, the report said.

The discovery was made after Russian police detained the two alleged kidnappers on request of their Austrian colleagues, who traced them to Moscow.

The suspects, Pavel Vlasov and Alexander Molchanov, have served on the police force in the city of Kirov, but were discharged and jailed for fraud and heroin dealing, respectively.

Vlasov and Molchanov, who started working for an unidentified crime boss after serving their prison sentences, admitted during questioning that they kidnapped Rebasso.

But they said they hit him on the head so hard he died in the process, Kommersant reported.

Rebasso’s death did not prevent the duo from unsuccessfully attempting to extract a ransom of 435,000 euro ($535,000) from his family.

Russian and Austrian police agreed that Vlasov and Molchanov were likely acting on someone else’s orders, but the duo named no prospective organizers so far, the report said.

Rebasso represented at least one prominent Russian businessman with a criminal record. In 2007, the lawyer was named the head of a Ponzi scheme that allegedly cost hefty sums of money to some prominent figures of the Russian underworld, though he proved in court he was a victim of identity theft and not involved in the fraud.

Vlasov and Molchanov are currently in custody and can face up to 15 years in prison if charged and convicted of kidnapping. They will be tried in Russia because Russian legislation does not allow extradition of the country’s citizens.


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