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Councilman killed when kidnapping goes wrong

By Max Seddon

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 19 2013 11:15 p.m. MST

MOSCOW — Zooming around in a Rolls Royce and boasting of ties to Chechnya's strongman ruler, Mikhail Pakhomov didn't live the life of the average provincial Russian lawmaker. He didn't die the death of one either.

Pakhomov, 37, a councilman from the industrial city of Lipetsk, 215 miles south of Moscow, was found beaten to a pulp at the bottom of a barrel of cement Monday after what investigators say was a business deal gone wrong — and a kidnapping that went even worse.

Evgeny Kharitonov, a former senior official in the Moscow regional government, was arrested at a Moscow airport Monday and charged with organizing Pakhomov's kidnapping over an $80 million debt. A warrant was issued Tuesday for his business partner, Sergei Krasovsky. Four other men are charged with the murder-kidnapping.

The son of a well-known Lipetsk theatrical couple, Pakhomov ran Liter, a construction and transport company. After a failed attempt in 2011 to win election to Russia's parliament as a candidate of the Kremlin-backed United Russia, he became a city councilman last October.

Police accused Kharitonov and Krasovsky of turning to unemployed men from the Moscow region to carry out the kidnapping, which took place last week when Pakhomov was bundled into a car as he left a restaurant.

When Pakhomov resisted, the men hit his head against the car door so hard that he eventually bled to death, local media reported. One of the suspects told police that Kharitonov said he had to recover the $80 million debt to advance his career.

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