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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Prominent Petersburger Assassinated

ST. PETERSBURG -- Dmitry Varvarin, a prominent businessman who was active in local politics, was killed outside his St. Petersburg home in what police said appeared to be a contract hit.

Varvarin, 40, was killed by a shot to the head from a Makarov handgun when he got out of his car and headed toward his building in the Petrograd district at around 8 p.m. Friday, authorities said. No bodyguards were with him.

The authorities believe the murder was most likely connected with his business activities, Interfax reported Saturday, citing police spokesman Alexander Rostovtsev.

Varvarin was the founder and co-owner of the Orimi holding company, whose interests include timber, construction, meat imports, tea, oil and transport. Orimi Trade handles the wholesale distribution of the popular Princess Nuri and Princess Kandi tea brands.

He has had problems with law enforcement agencies, and "no honest business would become the victim of criminal warfare," Rostovtsev was quoted as saying.

Varvarin's company has not been reported to have been involved in any major business disputes.

He was one of few entrepreneurs supporting Yury Boldyrev, who suggested in an interview with Vedomosti newspaper that the killing may have been politically motivated.

Varvarin first supported Boldyrev when he ran unsuccessfully for governor of St. Petersburg in 1996, losing to the current governor, Vladimir Yakovlev, and to the incumbent, Anatoly Sobchak.

In 1998, Varvarin became a member of the Yury Boldyrev Bloc's political council, and he ran on the bloc's party list in the 1999 State Duma elections.

In the interview, Boldyrev pointed out that Varvarin was killed three hours after documents putting Boldyrev forward as a candidate for governor in this year's election were handed in to the city election committee.

In 1990, Varvarin was one of the founders of the Russian-American company Orimi Wood. He became general director of the Orimi concern in 1994.

Varvarin is survived by his wife and three children.