Ukrainian security service arrests two suspects in killing of Russian businessman
The millionaire was shot in the heart on March 27
Ukraine`s security service said Saturday that two suspects have been arrested in connection with last month`s brazen assassination of a Russian businessman outside a courthouse, according to the International Herald Tribune.
Maxim Kurochkin, a millionaire who owned vast properties in Ukraine, was shot in the heart on March 27 as he stepped out of a Kiev courthouse where he was on trial for extortion.
The killing shocked this ex-Soviet republic, not only for its boldness but also because it was the latest in a string of assassinations and attacks against business leaders in the country.
Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, acting head of the state Security Service, told Channel 5 television that authorities detained the two suspects in the eastern city of Dnipropetrovsk. He said they were suspected of carrying out the attack, but added that authorities were still searching for the person who ordered the killing.
Nalyvaychenko refused to identify the suspects or provide any other details about them, citing the ongoing investigation.
Kurochkin ran an organization that supported pro-Russian Premier Viktor Yanukovych during the bitter 2004 presidential campaign and subsequent Orange Revolution protests that swept his pro-Western rival, Viktor Yushchenko, to the presidency.
He was arrested in November on charges of extortion after he allegedly demanded US$10,000 (?7,800), a one-room apartment and a plasma TV from an acquaintance, according to Ukrainian media. Kurochkin denied the accusations and said the case against him was fabricated.
The businessman claimed he had survived 18 assassination attempts, including a 2004 car bombing that seriously wounded his bodyguards. Kurochkin had complained during his trial that his life was in danger. Earlier that month, three other businessmen connected to him were gunned down as they rode in a car, and another associate was shot dead last October.