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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Frenkel Goes on Trial in Kozlov's Murder

Alexei Frenkel, the banker accused of organizing the murder of Central Bank first deputy chairman Andrei Kozlov, pleaded not guilty on Monday, labeling the charges as "slander."

"I don't, of course, admit any guilt, and I had nothing to do with this crime whatsoever," Frenkel said at the Moscow City Court on the opening day of his trial, Interfax reported.

Kozlov was shot dead in a contract-style killing in September 2006. Frenkel, head of the now-defunct VIP Bank, was arrested in January 2007 and has been in police custody ever since.

Frenkel has denied ordering the hit, saying Kozlov's death was likely the result of a struggle inside the Central Bank. He accused prosecutors Monday of slandering him.

"The prosecution has no right to smear me," Frenkel said, Interfax reported.

Six other suspects are on trial along with Frenkel. If convicted of organizing Kozlov's murder, Frenkel could face life in prison.