Eight arrested after kidnapped politician's body is found in a barrelof cement

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Eight people have been arrested in Russia after a politician's body was found stuffed in a barrel of cement.

Mikhail Pakhomov, 36, was kidnapped on 12 February in Lipetsk, 230 miles south of Moscow. The body of the prominent pro-Kremlin member of the city council has now been discovered by police in a metal barrel full of fresh cement in a garage in the Noginsky district of Moscow region.

Police confirmed that eight people have been detained, suspected of involvement in his death. Among them is the 40-year-old former state-utilities official Yevgeny Kharitonov, who is alleged to have ordered the kidnap.

A law-enforcement official told Russian media that Mr Pakhomov's body showed signs of beating or torture before death. Video footage showed his wrapped-up corpse being removed from the garage on a stretcher, with the barrel – cut in half – standing in the background.

Mr Kharitonov was arrested on board a plane at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport. He was charged with armed kidnapping. Some of the other seven men have been charged with kidnap and with stealing £8,500 in property from the victim.

A detective in the region said the crime could be linked to debts the politician owed to Mr Kharitonov.

Evidence suggests the kidnap did not go entirely to plan and attempts to cover it up have also been bungled. Witnesses saw three men pushing another into a car in Lipetsk last week. The victim's jeans, a shoe and his mobile phone were left at the scene, allowing police to identify him as Mr Pakhomov.

Mr Pakhomov, a married father-of-two, was a successful businessman and an up-and-coming politician in Lipetsk. He was a member of United Russia, the party which supports the President, Vladimir Putin.

Contract killings and kidnaps of this nature are not uncommon in Russia's business world, though they have decreased significantly since the 1990s.