Leading Russian businessman shot-dead in Moscow

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Moscow, Feb 7 (UNI) Leading Russian businessman Yevgeny Chivilikhin was shot dead here while Russian President Vladmir Putin called for creating a crime prevention system.

Investigators have called the incident as contract killing.

Chivilikhin, 57, head of the Moscow Guild of Markets and Fairs and a cofounder of the Timiryazevsky Trade Centre, was gunned down last night near his house in the north of the Russian capital at about 2100 hrs Moscow time yesterday.

''An unidentified man fired several pistol shots at Chivilikhin, made an execution-style shot to the head, and fled the scene,'' a police source told Russian news agencies.

''Investigators are positive it was a contract killing linked to the victim's business activities,'' he said.

He said police have seized a tape from a surveillance camera installed near the house in the hope it will help identify the killer.

This was not the first attempt on Chivilikhin. Last year, he escaped an attempt on his life, when a bomb with a yield equivalent to 400 grams of TNT exploded near his house.

Investigators told RIA Novosti news agency the killing could be linked to an ongoing turf war between several crime groups for control over the Trade Centre, which is visited by up to 500,000 people a day, Kommersant daily said today.

The Center has also been plagued by internal disputes among shareholders and lease holders, the paper said.

Meanwhile, Putin said a state system of crime prevention is being created in Russia with the coordinating role of the Russian Interior Ministry.

He said the creation of an effective state system for the prevention of crimes was ''a priority for the Interior Ministry.'' The system is designed to neutralise the sources of criminalisation of society and stop attempts to draw young people into the criminal business, Itar-Tass news agency quoted President Putin as saying.

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