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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Suspect Cleared in Klebnikov's Murder

Investigators have dropped charges against a Chechen suspect in the killing of Paul Klebnikov, the former editor of Forbes Russian edition, a news report said Wednesday.

Magomed Edilsultanov showed up voluntarily for questioning at the Moscow offices of the Investigative Committee, Rosbalt.ru reported. After questioning, he was released and the murder charges were dropped, the report said, citing an unidentified law enforcement source.

An Investigative Committee spokeswoman refused to immediately comment on the report.

Edilsultanov was among a group of Chechens accused by police of participating in the killing of Klebnikov, a U.S. journalist who was shot outside his office in an apparent contract hit in July 2004. He was 41.

Investigators believe that Khozh-Akhmed Nukhayev, a colorful Chechen businessman whom Klebnikov interviewed extensively for his 2003 book "Conversations With a Barbarian," ordered Klebnikov's killing.

Nukhayev has also been linked to the 2006 murder of Novaya Gazeta reporter Anna Politkovskaya. Investigators are currently preparing formal charges against him, Rosbalt said.

Two other suspects in Klebnikov's killing, Kazbek Dukuzov and Musa Vakhayev, were acquitted in a 2006 trial, while Nukhayev and another Chechen suspect, Magomed Dukuzov, remain at large.

Last December, yet another suspect, Marat Valeyev, was released from custody and cleared of charges because of an absence of evidence.

Edilsultanov was also accused in connection with the killing of former Chechen Deputy Prime Minister Yan Sergunin, who was shot in Moscow just two weeks before Klebnikov's murder.

"The theory that he took part in the two high-profile murders could not be confirmed," the law enforcement source told Rosbalt.

Meanwhile, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov accused self-exiled businessman Boris Berezovsky of ordering the killing of Natalya Estemirova, the Chechen human rights campaigner who was shot last year.

"Estemirova's murder was engineered by the same person who killed Politkovskaya and [Kremlin critic Alexander] Litvinenko. I am absolutely convinced that this was the work of Berezovsky," Kadyrov said in an interview with RT state television published Wednesday.

Berezovsky previously has been linked by Russian officials to Politkovskaya's murder. He denies wrongdoing.

Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, the suspected organizer of Politkovskaya's murder, said last year that investigators had urged him to falsely incriminate either Kadyrov or Berezovsky.