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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Grim Catalog of Banker Slayings

The death by poisoning of prominent banker Ivan Kivelidi was an aberration from the preferred method -- shooting -- used by mafia hitmen to kill 26 bankers over the last four years, according to an analysis of contract murders.


The Russian Association of Bankers released a highly unusual survey Wednesday with details of 85 contract attacks on bankers in the country in the last three years, resulting in 47 deaths. Of those victims, 26 were bankers, with the remainder made up of their bodyguards or other employees and relatives.


All but four of the 27 were killed by gunfire, and all but Kivelidi, founder of the Russian Roundtable who died Aug. 4, were killed either in their homes, near the entrance to their homes, or near their cars as they returned home from work.


"Kivelidi's death was unusual in that he was killed at work," said Vitaly Sidorov, a spokesman for the Association of Bankers. "Most all of the other killings happened in virtually the same manner, by gun, near the home."


Kivelidi was the president of Rosbizbank and one of Russia's most visible businessmen. His death from an apparent poisoning in his office created a furor in the Moscow business community. His secretary Zara Ismailova also died in the poisoning.


Another grim feature of the attacks is that they tend to go unsolved. Only four of the 85 attacks have resulted in a conviction, said Sidorov. them left the bankers or their bodyguards permanently maimed. Most of these "injury" attacks, he said, were the result of explosions.


"Grenades or car bombs leave people alive, but maimed," he said. "These are the cases when people lose their legs, eyes, ears, etc. It's tough to say whether these were attempted murders, or whether maiming was the objective, but the results are consistent."


Sergei Grigoriants, head of the human rights society Glasnost, which monitors political murders, said killings of bankers and businessmen had their own peculiar signature.


"Almost all of these killings happen in the same fashion," he said. "They happen late at night, they happen close to home and they are carried out with automatic weapons or pistols. The sameness of method makes them difficult to distinguish and difficult to solve. If there are no witnesses, you're reduced to looking for a person who walks the street and owns a gun -- a wide segment of the population."


Sidorov added that the location and method of contract murders was largely determined by the nature of private-security procedures.


"Why are so few car bombs fatal?" he asked. "A large part of that is that bankers have drivers who are trained to look for explosives.


"Killings don't happen at work because security there is too good. And the time -- night -- because there are few witnesses. The place -- home -- because the guard seldom walks from the car to the door with the victim."


Kivelidi's death deviates from the pattern in a number of ways. For one thing, he appears to have been poisoned at work. The murder method -- most likely the application of a potent poison to a piece of furniture or to his telephone -- was more sophisticated and high-tech than the methods used in most other hits.


And while most of the other attacks on bankers were conspicuous and seemed not only intent on killing the victim but also on intimidating his associates, the method of Kivelidi's killing suggested that his murderers intended for his death to seem accidental. As Sergei Bachurin, Rosbizbank's vice president, told the newspaper Izvestia:


"If Kivelidi's secretary hadn't died of the same symptoms, we would never have thought that someone had intentionally poisoned Ivan Kharlampievich. He had chronic liver and kidney problems and we would have thought it was natural causes."


Name Date Company Weapon


Petrov Jan. 3, 1991 Provintsialny Bank Gun


Grigoriyev Jan. 10, 1991 Kuzbizprombank Gun


Alisnichuk May 11, 1993 Belbizbank Gun


Lyubov June 24, 1993 Razvitiye Lesnoi Promyshlennosty Bank Gun


Yakubovich July 2, 1993 Inkombank Gun


Mitkov Sept. 17, 1993 Promyshlennosty Bank Gun


Likhachev Dec. 2, 1993 Rosselkhozbank Gun


Rudikh Feb. 18, 1994 Rossiisky-Aziatsky Bank Gun


Mamedov Feb. 27, 1994 Kombank Oshmakho Knife


Izgervdsiz Apr. 26, 1994 MDekabank Gun


Muzhikov Apr. 28, 1994 Mosbizbank Gun


Verovinsky Apr. 29, 1994 Tekhkombank Gun


Sarudin May 25, 1994 L-Bank Gun*


Dibinov May 25, 1994 L-Bank Gun*


Rubenshtein June 28, 1994 Sberbank Knife


Antipov Oct. 20, 1994 Kredit Bank Gun


Karenin Nov. 4, 1994 Ost-Vest Gun


Uyaz Dec. 21, 1994 Progress 2000 Bank Gun


Kurtrinov Jan. 23, 1995 Progress 2000 Bank Gun


Orlov Feb. 15, 1995 Finantso-Torgovly Bank Gun


Melnik May 6, 1995 Yuzhno Chyornomorny Bank Gun


Yafyaseyev Apr. 10, 1995 Yugorsk Bank Gun


Kantor July 20, 1995 Yugorsk Bank Knife


Devatikh July 23, 1995 Kazan Bank Gun


Plevanov July 30, 1995 OpekhBank Gun


Kivelidi Aug. 4, 1995 Rosbizbank Poison





*killed in the same shooting