Lawmaker's Body Is Found Near Moscow in Cement-Filled Barrel

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MOSCOW -- The body of a missing city legislator and construction tycoon has been found in a private basement garage on the city's outskirts, inside a rusted metal barrel filled with cement, the police said Monday.

Russian television showed investigators removing the body of the man, Mikhail Pakhomov, 36, on Sunday evening from the garage, 20 miles east of Moscow, where the police said he had been tortured and killed over an outstanding $80 million loan.

The killing recalled the brutal violence that routinely emerged from business disputes in the 1990s. Mr. Pakhomov, who was reported missing last Tuesday, was a promising young star in United Russia, the ruling party founded by President Vladimir V. Putin, and had served as head of a construction company that was reported to have won large contracts to develop utilities and infrastructure in several cities.

Sergei B. Ivanov, Mr. Putin's chief of staff, last year called housing and utilities services one of Russia's most corrupt sectors. Many lucrative contracts are doled out on the municipal level, and large sums of money are at stake.

Politicians who have tried to battle graft in the system have met with violence. In 2011, Yevgeny Dushko, the mayor of Sergiyev Posad, was gunned down in his driveway in a contract killing that investigators said was most likely linked to his disputes with the city's utility contractors.

The police have identified the likely mastermind of Mr. Pakhomov's killing as Yevgeny Kharitonov, a former deputy minister for housing and utilities services in the Moscow region. . They said Mr. Kharitonov had Mr. Pakhomov followed since last November and was pressing the legislator to repay a debt of $80 million. Mr. Kharitonov has been arrested, but so far, he has been charged only with kidnapping. Seven other people were also arrested.

Mr. Pakhomov was reported missing on Feb. 12 from Lipetsk, an industrial city 270 miles southeast of Moscow, where he served as a regional lawmaker. Witnesses said three men had dragged him from his car, and the police said they found traces of blood at the scene.

The search continued for almost a week, until people questioned by the police led investigators to the body.

"A similar event has never happened with a V.I.P. in our city," read an editorial published in Gorod48, a news Web site based in Lipetsk. "Even in the 'evil '90s' nobody disappeared: businessmen were killed right where they lived or worked, and bandits from competing groups shot or blew each other up wherever they happened to be."


This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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