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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Suspected Sych Killer Arrested

Police have arrested and charged the person they suspect pulled the trigger in the gangland-style killing of Valentin Sych, the head of the Russian Hockey Federation, a spokeswoman at the Russian Prosecutor General's Office said Monday.


Sych, 59, died April 22 when his Volvo was hit by automatic gunfire from a passing vehicle as he was being driven to Moscow from his dacha. The chauffeur also died, and Sych's wife was seriously wounded.


The prosecutor's spokeswoman, Natalya Vishnyakova, did not provide the suspect's name, the arrest date or any other details.


A number of other people have been arrested in connection with the shooting, including former president of the International Hockey League, Robert Cherenkov, who was detained Aug. 10. But until now, the person who actually wielded the weapon was believed to be at large.


Sych and Cherenkov were on opposite sides of a fight for control of the hockey federation in 1994 when Sych accused former federation president Vladimir Petrov and his ally, league president Cherenkov, of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the federation's bank accounts.


The federation at the time received huge profits from its government-granted ability, since revoked, to import tobacco and alcohol tax-free. It also receives transfer fees for players that leave for the National Hockey League in North America.


Sych's murder is another in a string of high profile contract killings in recent years, most of which remain unsolved.


Two weeks ago, Mikhail Manevich, St. Petersburg's vice governor and top privatization official, was shot dead in his car in the city center, and in June, the general director of the Spartak soccer club, Larisa Nechayeva, was shot dead at her dacha in a Moscow suburb.


After Sych's killing, some sports officials pointed to what happened to other groups that had import privileges, such as the National Sports Fund, whose chief was shot and stabbed, and an Afghanistan veteran's group, whose members fell victim to a bomb attack last year at Kotlyakovskoye Cemetery that killed 14 people.


The cemetery explosion drew strong public and official reaction, and after Interior Minister Anatoly Kulikov publicly pledged to solve the crime, three men -- all Afghan veterans -- were charged with the bombing last May.