Saratov's Prosecutor Gunned Down

Bogatej.ruYevgeny Grigoryev
The Saratov region's top prosecutor was gunned down near his home in an attack authorities said resembled a contract murder.

Yevgeny Grigoryev, head of the Saratov Regional Prosecutor's Office, was shot dead by an unidentified man at around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the courtyard of his apartment building in central Saratov, a spokeswoman for the regional branch of the Investigative Committee said Thursday.

Grigoryev, 48, was shot in the head and chest and died at the scene, said the spokeswoman, who refused to give her name.

"The possibility that this was a contract murder is being investigated, though all other possible scenarios are also being considered," the spokeswoman said.

Grigoryev had led several investigations into purported corruption by local officials.

No suspects had been detained, though witnesses were giving testimony to investigators Thursday afternoon, the spokeswoman said.

Grigoryev's body was discovered by passers-by shortly after the shooting.

The attacker likely used a silencer, as witnesses heard no sounds of gunshots, a source in the Prosecutor General's Office told RIA-Novosti.

Grigoryev was known for taking a tough public stance on corruption and had already been the target of a purported assassination plot.

A Saratov court last month convicted local resident Yevgeny Rusakov of plotting to kill Grigoryev and sentenced him to five years in prison, Interfax reported.

Last year, Grigoryev set up a special department to fight corruption among civil servants, sending more than 132 corruption cases to court, Gazeta.ru reported.

The department targeted senior officials suspected of bribery and blackmail, including regional agriculture minister Alexander Nemyslenov, senior police official Dmitry Maloshenko, and former Saratov Mayor Yury Aksyonenko.

Aksyonenko is suspected of abuse of office in connection with the purportedly illegal distribution of land plots.

The spokeswoman for the regional Investigative Committee, which is still investigating Aksyonenko, declined to speculate on any possible links between the Aksyonenko case and Grigoryev's murder.

Prosecutor General Yury Chaika has moved in to take personal control of the case, saying that "such crimes against law and order cannot go unpunished," Chaika's office said in a statement.

Yury Denisov, head of the Samara Regional Prosecutor's Office, praised Grigoryev as a "very qualified specialist" and said the type of weapon used in the attack "indicates that this was a contract murder connected, naturally, with his professional activities," Interfax reported.