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Financial Times: Oil group engineer shot dead in Siberia: resurgence of contract killings in Russia

By Arkady Ostrovskyin Moscow

Published: October 3 2006 03:00 | Last updated: October 3 2006 03:00

The chief engineer for a company controlled by TNK-BP, the Anglo-Russian oil group, was shot dead in the east Siberian city of Irkutsk over the weekend in an apparent resurgence of contract killings in Russia.

Enver Ziganshin was the chief engineer for Rusia Petroleum,which holds the licence to develop the giant Kovykta gas field in eastern Siberia. A spokesman for Rusia Petroleum, which is 60 per cent owned by TNK-BP, said Mr Ziganshin was responsible for much of the work on the Kovykta field.

Contract killings of businessmen, widespread in the 1990s, were until recently thought to be a thing of the past. However this is the second high-profile killing in Russia following the assassination last month of Andrei Kozlov, a deputy head of Russia’s central bank responsible for wide-ranging banking reform and for withdrawing licences from some of the less scrupulous banks.

Prosecutors who are still looking for Mr Kozlov’s killers, yesterday could shed no light on the killing of Mr Ziganshin.

Jean Lemierre, the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, yesterday told the FT Mr Kozlov’s death had shocked the bank and many foreign investors. “It is very important that his successor is backed by Russian authorities and that he can continue to do the work which Kozlov was doing.”

The killing of Mr Ziganshin comes at a time of growing pressure on TNK-BP from some government ministries that are threatening to withdraw the Kovykta licence from the group.

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