‘Russia hyperlink’ suspected’ in Chechen exile’s Berlin park homicide

Crime scene in Moabit, Berlin, 23 Aug 19Picture copyright
AFP

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Police on the spot in a Berlin park the place the Chechen exile was shot useless


The killing of a Chechen exile within the coronary heart of Berlin can be investigated by the chief German prosecutor as a doable Russian intelligence operation, reviews say.

Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, 40, was shot within the head from behind within the Kleiner Tiergarten park in August.


A person was rapidly arrested however now federal prosecutors say they plan to take over the case.

That step suggests a international intelligence service is suspected.

The case is at the moment being investigated by Berlin prosecutors and legal police.

Why is Russia suspected?

In keeping with Der Spiegel web site, the suspect entered the European Union carrying papers within the identify of Vadim Sokolov, 49. However that was not his actual identification, it reviews, and it says federal prosecutor Peter Frank suspects Russian state our bodies have been behind the homicide.

Russia has not responded to the reviews, though a spokesman did say in August that the killing had nothing to do with Russia or its authorities.

Experiences on the time mentioned Mr Sokolov was detained after he was noticed by two youngsters dumping a motorcycle, pistol and a wig into the close by River Spree.

Investigative web site Bellingcat says Mr Sokolov doesn’t exist and was given a tax ID quantity days earlier than he utilized for a Schengen visa to journey to the EU. This might not have occurred with out direct involvement of the Russian state, it alleges.

Who’s the suspect?

In keeping with Bellingcat, the true identification of the person in custody is Vadim Krasikov, born in August 1965 in Soviet Kazakhstan, and never in 1970.

It describes Krasikov as a suspect within the 2013 homicide of a Russian businessman in Moscow. The sufferer in that assault was additionally approached by a person on a bicycle who shot him behind the top.

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Khangoshvili (R) was an in depth affiliate of Aslan Maskhadov (L), the Chechen insurgent chief killed in 2005

An Interpol warrant was issued by Moscow however withdrawn in 2015, it says. Experiences on the time of the Berlin homicide in August mentioned the suspect had travelled from Moscow by way of Paris earlier than the assault and had a return ticket to Moscow.

German media have in contrast the assault on Khangoshvili to the tried homicide of Russian former intelligence agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter within the UK final 12 months.

Who was the sufferer?

A Georgian nationwide, Khangoshvili had fought within the second Chechen struggle in opposition to Russian forces within the North Caucasus in 2001-2005.

He had been an in depth ally of Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov, who masterminded Chechen guerrilla resistance to Russia and was killed in a Russian particular forces raid.

Khangoshvili fled to Germany after surviving an assassination try within the Georgian capital Tbilisi in 2015. He utilized for asylum in Germany however was not granted it.

Chechnya is now run by Ramzan Kadyrov, a former insurgent who switched sides and is now fiercely loyal to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Media captionChechen chief Ramzan Kadyrov is questioned by the BBC’s Sarah Rainsford on the area’s human rights file