Moscow arrest linked to Canary Wharf mafia-style hit on Russian banker German Gorbuntsov


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The Independent Online

Moscow police say they have arrested the man they believe was behind a mafia-style hit on a Russian businessman in London last year.

The arrested man, 33-year-old Moldovan citizen Vitali Proca, was wanted in connection with a murder in Romania last November, but is also the suspected gunman in the attack on banker German Gorbuntsov in East London last March.

According to a statement from the Russian Interior Ministry, the arrest took place in Moscow on Wednesday, and the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda showed leaked footage of a man in a white shell-suit top being handcuffed and questioned by police.

“It certainly looks like the man that was captured on camera and suspected of being involved,” said Vadim Vedenin, Mr Gorbuntsov’s Moscow-based lawyer last night. He said Mr Gorbuntsov himself would be unable to identify the assailant as he had not seen him clearly.

Mr Gorbuntsov was shot six times in the stomach as he entered a serviced apartment in the Isle of Dogs. The attack, which raised concerns that Russian businessmen were bringing their turf wars and disputes over dubious money onto the streets of London, put him in a coma but he survived. The banker spent several months under armed guard in a London hospital, but was recently discharged. Mr Vedenin confirmed that Mr Gorbuntsov is now out of hospital and living in a secret location in the UK.

In an interview with The Independent from his hospital bed last summer, Mr Gorbuntsov linked the assassination attempt to evidence he planned to give over another attempted murder, of a former business associate. "I think it was because I was ready to give evidence," he said. "They decided that if there is no person, there's no problem."

The arrest was confirmed by Interpol and the Metropolitan Police tonight.