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ST PETERSBURG, October 6 (Itar-Tass) — The Frunze district court of St.Petersburg on Thursday sanctioned the arrest of Maarif Alekperov, 37, suspected of paying assassins to kill wholesale market owner Sergei Sosnovtsev.
Judge Pavel Smirnov met the investigator' petition on selecting arrest as the measure of restraint for Alekperov for the period of investigation into the high-profile murder.
Earlier, city police detained five persons suspected of involvement. The businessman was gunned down in the city's Frunze district on September 26.
Among the detainees are the perpetrators and masterminds, acting first chairman of the Investigative Committee's department for St.Petersburg Alexander Klaus said.
According to the investigators, a conflict of business interests (lease of premises on the market that belonged to Sosnovtsev) was the prime motive behind the assassination. The murder could have been ordered by entrepreneur Alekperov, who had found the crime masterminds, while the latter enlisted the perpetrators).
A majority of the detainees confessed to their involvement, except the suspect who the investigators believe had ordered the murder. He insists on his innocence, but the evidence points to the contrary.
The investigators found the Kalashnikov rifle which had been used in the attack. The criminals dropped it into the Neva near the Sinopskaya Embankment. Alekperov was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on October 1, deputy police chief for Petersburg and Leningrad Region Sergei Strelin said.
The next day, police detained the suspected perpetrators - Tagiyev, who fired 21 shots at the businessman’s car, and driver Temirov. The crime organizers - Aliyev and Ismailov - were detained on October 1 as they were leaving St.Petersburg. The investigators said they had been paid 50,000 dollars for executing the contract.
Police believe they might be involved in similar crimes in Russia.
Sergei Sosnovtsev, head of a wholesale market, was assassinated near house # 54 in Salov Street, Frunze district, in the evening of September 26. A Mercedes carrying the criminals overtook the businessman's Porsche Cayenne. The criminal sprayed automatic fire at the Porsche, killing Sosnovtsev outright. Criminal proceedings were opened under Article 105 of Russia's Criminal Code ("murder").