February 7, 2008 / 6:15 AM / 12 years ago

Leading Russian businessman killed in Moscow

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A prominent Moscow businessman was shot dead overnight in what police believed was a contract killing, Russian media reported on Thursday.

Yevgeny Chivilikhin, president of the Moscow Markets and Fairs Guild, died from several wounds to the head after being ambushed by an unknown gunman at the entrance to his house in central area of the Russian capital.

“Police believe this was a contract killing,” said the Vesti-24 television channel.

Police were quoted as saying they hoped footage from surveillance cameras installed at the house could help to find the killer.

In 2006, Chivilikhin escaped unhurt when a bomb exploded near his house.

Chivilikhin, 57, was a co-owner of a giant market complex in Moscow.

Several criminal groups had fought for control of the busy area that was visited by hundreds of thousands customers daily, media reports said.

Last September a senior detective investigating fraud and corruption in Russian businesses was shot dead in Moscow.

In October 2006, a gunman killed deputy central banker Andrei Kozlov who had been investigating money laundering at banks.

Contract killings were commonplace in the turbulent 1990s in Russia but have become less frequent.

Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Ralph Gowling

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