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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kidnapped Son of Rosneft Exec Freed

The teenage son of Rosneft vice president Mikhail Stavsky has been freed two months after being kidnapped at a Moscow university, and investigators said Thursday that they were questioning a Chechen suspect in connection with the abduction.

Stavsky's 17-year-old son, also named Mikhail, was rescued Wednesday night "as a result of a joint operation" conducted by officers of the Interior Ministry's criminal investigation department and the Investigative Committee, the committee said in a statement.

The teenager is in good health, and investigators were interviewing him Thursday, the statement said.

A female Grozny resident, 34, has been detained in Moscow on suspicion of involvement in Stavsky's abduction, and investigators were questioning her on Thursday, the committee said.

Officials familiar with case refused to release any details of the operation, including whether a ransom had been paid or whether any other suspects had been detained.

"The operation is not over yet, and we can't talk about it," said a spokesman with the Interior Ministry's criminal investigation department.

Viktoria Tsyplenkova, a spokeswoman for the Investigative Committee's Moscow branch, which is leading the probe into the kidnapping, refused to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.

Rosbalt cited a law enforcement source as saying the kidnappers released Stavsky from a car on a road. Stavsky then returned home on his own, the source said.

The source also said Stavsky had not seen the faces of his kidnappers and no suspects had been detained.

No ransom was paid for his release, Rosbalt reported., citing "official sources," reported that the kidnappers released their hostage amid fears that the police might track them down. It said the police had started searching Moscow apartments where Stavsky had been held at various times after his abduction in April.

The kidnappers had demanded a 50 million euro ($71 million) ransom, Novaya Gazeta reported June 1, citing a law enforcement source.

Another source told the newspaper that the captors hoped to force the father to make concessions in the oil and gas business and perhaps even secure his resignation as Rosneft vice president, a post he has occupied since 2005.

Rosneft is the country's largest oil company, and its chairman is powerful Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin.

Investigators said in early June that they had drawn facial composite sketches of two kidnappers.

Investigators suspect that an international crime group specializing in kidnappings and headed by Uruguayan resident Denis Shilin is behind the kidnapping, Kommersant reported earlier this month.

A suspected member of the crime group, former Moscow police officer Andrei Alyoshin, was arrested in July 2008 and charged this month with four abductions.

The news that the younger Stavsky had been abducted only emerged when Novaya Gazeta wrote about it on June 1, about six weeks after the kidnapping.

On April 13, Stavsky was pushed into a BMW car by four unidentified kidnappers outside the Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas in southwestern Moscow.

The abduction is the highest-profile case since LUKoil chief financial officer Sergei Kukura was grabbed by unknown attackers in 2002. Kukura was later freed unharmed. No one has been convicted in that case.

Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin had taken the Stavsky investigation under his personal control, Anatoly Bagmet, head of the committee's Moscow branch, said Thursday, Interfax reported.