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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kidnappers Detain Father of 2 Leading St. Pete Executives

ST. PETERSBURG — Mikhail G. Mirilashvili, the father of two prominent St. Petersburg businessmen, was kidnapped while driving near the city center Monday morning but was freed Tuesday evening, one of his sons said. The circumstances of his kidnapping and release were unclear Tuesday evening.

Mirilashvili is the father of Mikhail M. Mirilashvili — also known as "Misha Kutaissky" — who is one of the biggest shareholders of the local branch of LUKoil and deputy chairman of the St. Petersburg branch of the Russian Jewish Congress.

His other son, Konstantin Mirilashvili, director of Gostiny Dvor, the city’s major shopping center, told NTV television in St. Petersburg that his father had been freed by a police operation at 6:40 p.m. Tuesday.

It was unclear where the release took place and whether the kidnappers were arrested. Police could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.

Mirilashvili senior was kidnapped at about 10 a.m. Monday while being driven on Vyborgskaya Naberezhnaya, police said. His black Toyota was stopped by people wearing police uniforms who showed a gun and asked the driver to leave the car.

Mirilashvili was driven away in his car by the kidnappers. The car was later found abandoned on a side street. The driver said he was released by the kidnappers, and he alerted the police.

St. Petersburg police said earlier Tuesday they were investigating two possible versions of the crime: a kidnapping for ransom and a "business-political" attack, said Valery Vekhov of the city police’s anti-organized crime department. "Either they [the Mirilashvili brothers] got in someone’s way, or someone simply decided to profit" by the kidnapping, Vekhov said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

Vekhov said the kidnapping is the fourth in St. Petersburg this year. None of the kidnappings has been solved, he said.