Organizer of Politkovskaya’s murder testifies on other high-profile criminal cases

Former chief of the Moscow police operative department Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for complicity in the murder of investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya, testified to the Investigative Committee in relation to two other high-profile criminal cases, Kommersant reported on Wednesday.

"According to his testimony before the Investigative Committee, he knows two people from the Lozanskaya criminal group (controlled by Chechen crime baron Lom-Ali Gaitukayev), charged with organizing Politkovskaya's murder, who could have been involved in the murder of Alexei Sidorov, a journalist from Togliatti," the daily reports.

Pavlyuchenko said that members of the Lozanskaya group told him in 2003 that they had been "sent to punish a reporter" in Togliatti.

However, instead of intimidating him they stabbed him to death because the reporter "suddenly offered stubborn resistance."

Pavlyuchenkov told the investigation quoting his sources that the contractors were extremely dissatisfied because they did not want Sidorov to die.

The daily reminds the reader that Sidorov, the editor of the Tolyattinskoye Obozreniye newspaper, was murdered on October 9, 2003. His predecessor, the first editor of the newspaper, Valery Ivanov, was shot dead in April 2002, the daily says.

Initially Yevgeny Maininger, an employee of the Kuibyshevazot fertilizer plant, was charged with Sidorov's murder but later acquitted.

Sidorov engaged in investigative reporting on the embezzlements at AvtoVAZ in which former LogoVAZ chief Boris Berezovsky proved to have been involved.

According to Pavlyuchenkov, members of the same gang were involved in the murder of Paul Klebnikov, the editor of the Russian edition of Forbes, in 2004.

They reportedly shadowed the future victim, the ex policeman said.

Meanwhile, the Investigative Committee has refrained from any official comments. Sources close to the investigation say that the possibility of the involvement of Lozanskaya gang in Klebnikov's murder is already being checked. The Investigative Committee finds it quite promising.