Police on Saturday found the car used in the drive-by shooting of the American editor of Forbes Magazine’s Russian edition, news reports said.
Prosecutor-General Vladimir Ustinov, the country’s top law-enforcement official, meanwhile said he was taking personal control of the investigation of the Friday night killing of Paul Klebnikov, the Interfax news agency reported.
Several theories being pursued
Klebnikov, 41, was gunned down outside the magazine’s office.
“Investigators are pursuing several theories about the crime, but the main one is the theory that the killing was connected to his professional activities,” the ITAR-Tass news agency quoted Svetlana Petrenko, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor-general’s office, as saying.
Klebnikov, who also authored a book about Boris Berezovsky, a tycoon who amassed a fortune in the chaotic and violent period of 1990s post-Soviet capitalism, was seen as widely knowledgeable about Russia’s often-murky business world.
Klebnikov had said in May that he believed the “the era of so called bandit-capitalism is already in the past. In the mid-90’s it was a very, very dirty process.”
Witnesses said the shots came from a Zhiguli automobile; that car was found Saturday and investigators were examining it for clues, Petrenko said, according to Interfax.
Klebnikov was hit four times outside the magazine’s office. The radio station Ekho Moskvy said shells of two different calibers were found at the scene, possibly indicating at least two assailants.
Alexander Gordeyev, editor of the Russian edition of Newsweek magazine, which has offices in the same building, said he came to Klebnikov’s side as he lay outside the building.
Although conscious “he couldn’t say anything about what could have been the cause of the attack,” Gordeyev told The Associated Press early Saturday.
The Interfax news agency quoted Leonid Bershidsky, the publisher of Russian Forbes and Newsweek, as saying that Klebnikov “had not dug up anything sensitive” recently.
Forbes started its Russian-language edition in April. Klebnikov, U.S.-born of Russian heritage, previously had been a senior editor with the U.S.-based Forbes.
A close look at the wealthy in Russia
In May, the magazine attracted wide attention by publishing a list of Russia’s wealthiest people, claiming that Moscow had more billionaires who worked there or amassed their fortunes there than any other city in the world.
“Here people fly and fall with staggering speed,” Klebnikov said at a news conference when the list was released.
Klebnikov’s family urged U.S. and international authorities to find and convict those responsible for the slaying.
“Paul was a fighter for the truth. Even more, he believed in being positive and looking for ways to make the future better,” his family said in a statement. “He dedicated his entire life to studying Russian history and culture. He deeply believed in Russia’s future and was the driving force behind the creation of Forbes Russia.”
Klebnikov was a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and the London School of Economics.