MOSCOW – A high-level special crimes unit will investigate the killing of the American editor of Forbes magazine's Russian edition, an official said Monday, a sign the government wants to show its determination to solve the slaying.
Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov (search) has ordered his office's department for the investigation of particularly important cases to conduct the probe into the death of Paul Klebnikov (search), said Viktor Potapov, an official at the prosecutor general's office.
Klebnikov, 41, was gunned down late Friday outside the magazine's offices in a slaying authorities believe was connected to his work. Ustinov had said he was taking personal control of the investigation.
Forbes started its Russian-language edition in April, and in May attracted wide attention by publishing a list of Russia's wealthiest people — a sensitive topic in a country where many fortunes were made through dubious activities in the corruption-marred years following the Soviet collapse.
Klebnikov, born in the United States of Russian heritage, also authored a book about Boris Berezovsky (search), one of the tycoons who got rich in the chaotic and violent period of 1990s post-Soviet capitalism. He was seen as widely knowledgeable about Russia's often-murky business world.
The international media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (search) has said that it was "shocked" by the killing and called on the government to protect journalists. It said that five journalists were killed last year in Russia, and that official investigations have so far failed to uncover why they died.
The Interfax news agency reported Monday that the car from which Klebnikov was shot has been found. Citing the prosecutor general's office, the agency said he was shot by the driver as the car passed by.
Klebnikov was able to speak after he was shot but couldn't say anything about what could have been the cause of the attack, according to Alexander Gordeyev (search), an editor of another magazine who came to Klebnikov's side as he lay outside the building.