- Title: RUSSIA: Funeral for murdered Russian central banker
- Date: 17th September 2006
- Summary: (W3) MOSCOW, RUSSIA (SEPTEMBER 16, 2006) (REUTERS) WIDE OF CENTRAL HOSPITAL MOURNING HALL EXTERIOR WREATHS VARIOUS OF PEOPLE STANDING NEAR WREATHS PEOPLE LINING UP TO PAY TRIBUTE TO MURDERED BANKER ANDREI KOZLOV VICE PRIME MINISTER ALEXANDER ZHUKOV ENTERING MOURNING HALL VARIOUS OF HIGH RANKING OFFICIALS (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) GERMAN GREF, ECONOMY MINISTER, SAYING: "Such an extraordinary state service obviously irritated some criminal dealers.'' PROCESSION WITH COFFIN MOVING TOWARDS HEARSE RELATIVES HEARSE LEAVING
- Embargoed: 2nd October 2006 13:00
- Topics: Finance
- Reuters ID: LVA5Y1SEDZAW38IPRHQGROIVYDGJ
- Story Text: A Russian central banker who fought to clean up his country's murky banking system was buried today at a cemetery in Moscow. Andrei Kozlov, a first deputy chairman of the Central Bank, died early on Thursday (September 14) from gunshot wounds after being ambushed by assassins in what police said was a contract 'hit'.
Hundreds of people came to Moscow's Central Clinical Hospital to say farewell to 41-year-old Kozlov. A Russian army honour guard unit gave the murdered central banker full state honours.
From there, the Cadillac hearse carrying his body drove to the city's Troyekurovsky cemetery. Among those attending the ceremony were Russian Minister of Economic Development, German Gref, Deputy Finance Minister, Sergei Shatalov, and head of Russia's national electricity company, United Energy Systems, Anatoly Chubais.
Kozlov is survived by three children, and a wife.
Kozlov had led a fearless campaign to close banks suspected of involvement in money laundering.
Gunmen fired on Kozlov as he left a football match between bank employees on Wednesday night. He fell to the ground bleeding from the head and chest and was rushed to hospital, where he died a few hours later after emergency surgery. His driver was killed on the spot.
Kozlov's murder plunged Russia's financial establishment into shock. With his department closing banks at the rate of two or three a week, Kozlov had no shortage of enemies and his colleagues said he had paid the ultimate price for his zeal.
"It's certain that [his] extraordinary state service obviously irritated the plans of many criminal dealers,'' said Minister of Economic Development, German Gref.
His killing was the highest-profile assassination in Moscow during the six years President Vladimir Putin has been in power, and comes amid a sudden rise in the number of contract killings in Russia's business community over the past six months. The spike in violent crimes has many wondering if Russia might return to the lawlessness of the 1990s when contract killings were the preferred method to settle business disputes.
On October 16, 2005, Alexander Slesarev, former owner of Sodbiznesbank and KreditTrust, was murdered outside of Moscow. On May 4 in St. Petersburg, the Rolls Royce of Sergei Vasiliev, an owner of an oil terminal in that city, was sprayed by automatic weapons fire. He survived, but one bodyguard didn't.
After overseeing years of rapid economic growth, Putin now wants a trouble-free political climate in which to prepare an orderly presidential succession in 2008 that would keep power in his ruling circle. The Kremlin declined immediate comment on Kozlov's killing.
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