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LIPETSK, February 21 (Itar-Tass) - Former deputy minister of the housing and utilities sector of the Moscow region Yevgeny Kharitonov, suspected of masterminding the murder of Lipetsk region legislator Mikhail Pakhomov, denies his involvement, senior aide to the director of the regional department of the Investigative Committee Galina Karlina told Itar-Tass.
Kharitonov said he was innocent as he was informed about the expert examinations to be carried out within the case.
"He continues to refuse to testify referring to the article of the Constitution which enables him not to testify against himself," Karlina said.
Earlier on Thursday, reports said that police in Anapa had detained the second suspected mastermind.
Eight persons have been detained within the case. "Five of them are accused of abduction, and three of property theft. A court sanctioned the arrest of six suspects: a mastermind, three perpetrators of the abduction, and two persons accused of theft," Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said earlier.
Markin said the purpose of the abduction was to recover an 80-million-dollar debt from Pakhomov.
"It was ascertained that the group had had planned his kidnapping last year. Interrogating officers have already obtain the information that the deputy has been watched since November 2012. The perpetrators were tracking all his movements; they knew the addresses at which the Lipetsk deputy stopped and his favorite recreation places.
"Previously, the group made several unsuccessful attempts to abduct Pakhomov. In Moscow, they failed to capture Pakhomov when the latter was returning from a foreign trip," Markin said.
One of the detainees said the objective was to recover an 80-million-dollar debt from the deputy. Former deputy minister of the housing and public utilities sector of the Moscow region Yevgeny Kharitonov, as he was ordering to kidnap the Lipetsk legislator, said recovering the debt was crucial for his career. "For Kharitonov, career was top priority," the SK spokesman said.
Sergei Krasovsky, Kharitonov's business partner, was put on the wanted list as the second suspected mastermind.
Pakhomov went missing in Lipetsk after he left a restaurant on February 12. His body was found in a barrel of concrete in a garage cellar in the village of Obukhovo, Noginsk district, Moscow region, on February 18.