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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Investigators Question Kukura

Investigators resumed questioning of LUKoil chief financial officer Sergei Kukura on Thursday but said he was still disoriented after his abduction.

Kukura was released and dropped off near his home in the Moscow region Wednesday after being held 12 days.

"His condition is satisfactory, but working with him causes certain difficulties," acting Moscow region prosecutor Alexander Mitusov said, Interfax reported. He did not elaborate.

A source in the investigation told Interfax earlier that Kukura was injected with a drug before his release. Some reports Wednesday said that Kukura had been unable to communicate with investigators during initial questioning.

LUKoil spokesman Mikhail Mikhailov said Thursday that no ransom had been paid. Two days after the Sept. 12 kidnapping, LUKoil said it received a ransom demand of $6 million in small bills. It also said Kukura had access to classified financial information at LUKoil and state secrets.

Kommersant speculated Thursday that the kidnapping might have been a ploy. "The aim of the staged abduction was ... time," the newspaper said.

Kommersant said LUKoil might have found itself in a difficult position over a decision on an oil field, an overdue loan or a deal with a foreign country. Putting off the decision could have inflicted multimillion-dollar losses or damaged the company's reputation. "No partner would dare pressure a firm that had just gone through such a tragedy," Kommersant said.

Izvestia suggested Kukura was released because LUKoil had shared important information with the abductors.