On Tuesday there was information that Russia’s Investigative Committee finalised the main investigation into the former head of Moscow’s police operative and search department Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, who was accused of a murder of Novaya Gazeta’s reporter Anna Politkovskaya. Kommersant writes that Pavlyuchenkov confessed the clients of the big crime had been the former Emir of Chechnya’s militants Akhmed Zakayev and a businessman Boris Berezovsky, who conflicted with the reporter. Under the pre-trial agreement, Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov is ready to also testify in the case of a murder of the Forbes’ editor Paul Klebnikov.
The newspaper reports that it was on Friday that Pavlyuchenkov, who is under investigation, testified that Akhmed Zakayev and Boris Berezovsky could be the clients, who ordered the murder of Anna Politkovskaya,Novaya Gazeta’s reporter. The Investigative Committee neither confirmed the information officially, nor disclaimed it. Lawyer of the former police lieutenant colonel Karen Nersisyan actually confirmed the information. “He /Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov/ did not say he knew exactly the names of the clients,” the lawyer said. “He only said he knows about them from other persons.” One of the people mentioned is Chechnya’s underworld leader Lom-Ali Gaitukayev, who the Investigative Committee suspects of being an organiser of the reporter’s murder. In summer of 2006 he received 150,000 dollars from the clients for organisation of the crime. A part of this money was paid to Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov for organisation of Anna Politkovskaya’s shadowing, forinvolving staff of the city police’ operational and search department. Another part of the money, the investigation supposes, was given to Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, the former officer of the Russian Interior Ministry’s regional department on fighting organised crime.
Lieutenant Colonel Pavlyuchenkov also said that as far as he knew, the murder of Anna Politkovskaya had been connected with a conflict she had will Akhmed Zakayev and Boris Berezovsky in London. However, he is not aware of the conflict’s reason, as Lom-Ali Gaitukayev had refused to reveal details to him.
Karen Nersisyan stressed he is taking seriously the statement of his client. “Investigators check and double check it,” he said. “My client is very interested in having his statement be in line with the testimonies of other witnesses, as he hopes his case would be considered in special order in a form of a separate case.” In the framework of the pre-trial agreement Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov is ready to make a statement on another big case – on the murder of the Forbes’ editor Paul Klebnikov on July 9, 2004. He made an application, but has not been interrogated on the case as of yet.
Kommersant says the investigation should receive a reply from London to a request for legal assistance, where Akhmed Zakayev and Boris Berezovsky are hiding and where they should be questioned. Besides it is necessary to finalise a phonographic feasibility test – a part of telephone conversations between the involved persons was in the Chechen language.
Chief Editor of Novaya Gazeta Sergei Sokolov told the edition that Anna Politkovskaya contacted Boris Berezovsky as a reporter, and that she had been on friendly terms with Akhmed Zakaev. “I cannot even imagine what could have made them quarrel,” Sokolov said.