Russian lawmaker's body found cemented in barrel

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Associated Press

Posted on February 18, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 18 at 5:33 PM

MOSCOW (AP) — The body of a Russian lawmaker was found cemented in a barrel, and a former government official has been accused of ordering the killing over an $80 million debt, officials said Monday.

Mikhail Pakhomov, 37, went missing last week. He was a member of the local legislature in Lipetsk, a city some 350 kilometers (some 215 miles) south of Moscow. He was last seen last Tuesday when three unidentified men pushed him into a car outside a restaurant in Lipetsk and drove away.

Russia's Investigative Committee says several suspects were detained, and that authorities found Pakhomov's badly beaten body in a barrel of cement in a garage.

Russian television stations aired footage provided by police that showed a fragment of a barrel, pieces of concrete and officers carrying what appeared to be Pakhomov's body on a stretcher and loading it into a vehicle.

The Investigative Committee said Yevgeny Kharitonov is being held on suspicion of ordering the killing of Pakhomov, allegedly over the $80 million debt. Kharitonov is a former deputy minister for communal services in the Moscow region's provincial government.

The committee's spokesman, Vladimir Markin, said that one of the detained suspects told investigators that Kharitonov had told them that he had to recover the debt to advance his career.

"For Kharitonov, career was the main priority," Markin said in a statement.

Russian news reports said Kharitonov was detained by police at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport while preparing to board a flight to the southern city of Krasnodar.

It wasn't immediately clear if Kharitonov had retained a lawyer.

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