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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

$6M Ransom for LUKoil Exec

LUKoil has received a $6 million ransom demand from a person claiming to represent the abductors of its chief financial officer, the Kommersant business daily reported Tuesday.

The executive, Sergei Kukura, 48, was seized by masked men Thursday while his car was stopped at a railroad crossing outside Moscow.

The gunmen bound Kukura's driver and bodyguard and gave them injections that caused both to lose consciousness.

Kommersant reported that an anonymous caller to a special LUKoil hot line had assured the company Monday that Kukura was alive and well but would be released only after the payment -- half in dollars, half in rubles -- had been made.

However, the newspaper said the reported call could have been a ruse, and the caller had offered no evidence that he indeed had Kukura.

On Friday, LUKoil President Vagit Alekperov offered a reward of 30 million rubles ($948,000) for information leading to Kukura's release.

Many business executives have been targeted by criminal groups in the past, but rarely one of Kukura's stature.

As one of LUKoil's founders and its chief financial officer, he has broad control over the company's business dealings.

Some media have speculated that the incident may have been caused by an internal management dispute at LUKoil.

However, there have been no public statements to that effect by the prosecutor's office.