London newspaper owner 'kidnapped by Russian far right'
Sunday 23 March 2008
The search for a missing millionaire executive of a UK newspaper has entered its second week after Latvian police failed to make any headway on his disappearance last week.
Leonid Rozhetskin, the Russian-born backer of the business free sheet City A.M., has not been seen since last weekend when he vanished from his holiday home in Latvia. The businessman, who co-founded a movie production company last year, was due to produce a film about the Russian mafia called Three Wolves.
Police have launched a massive hunt for Mr Rozhetskin, who is now a US citizen, after finding blood stains and broken furniture at his house in the coastal resort of Jurmala last Sunday. Local reports have called the circumstances of his disappearance "murky".
One local newspaper has claimed that the last person to see Mr Rozhetskin, 41, was a taxi driver who picked him up from his home along with two other men in the early hours of last Sunday morning, dropping the trio in the centre of Riga, outside the gay nightclub XXL. The club's employees have told police that they did not see the businessman. His car was found later in the capital's suburbs.
Detectives are thought to be pursuing three theories: that Mr Rozhetskin was targeted by a far-right group because of his private life; that he was the victim of a contract killing linked to his business background; or that he may simply have opted to disappear.
Two years ago, Russian prosecutors placed the media executive on a wanted list for an alleged $40m (£20m) fraud. Mr Rozhetskin is a shareholder in the Dutch consortium that owns 50 per cent of City A.M. and ran the movie production company L+E Productions with Eric Eisner.
He is the former executive vice chairman of Russia's biggest mining company, Norilsk Nickel, and he used to own a quarter of Russia's third largest mobile operator, MegaFon. He has one son and splits his time between London and Los Angeles.
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