Prominent Moscow Businessman Shot Dead

Shabtai von Kalmanovic. Source: gzt.ruA well-known businessman and philanthropist was killed in central Moscow on Monday when his car was shot with automatic fire. Shabtai von Kalmanovic, who was the owner of a top Moscow women’s basketball team, died at the scene. His driver Pyotr Tumanov was hospitalized with heavy gunshot wounds.

Police are currently undertaking an “urgent investigation” to locate the killers and determine the course of events. At least 20 casings from a 9-mm weapon have been recovered from Kalmanovic’s Mercedes.

According to chief investigator Anatoly Bagmet, the possibility that the murder was a contract killing is among those being considered. He also noted that there may be connections with Kalmanovic’s activities as basketball manager.

Shabtai von Kalmanovic was a Lithuanian-born businessman known for the lavish lifestyles afforded to his players. In the early 1980s he was considered one of the richest people to emigrate from the USSR to Israel. In 1988 he was convicted of spying against Israel for the USSR, and was released early from prison in 1993.

Contract killings of businessman were notorious in Russia early after the fall of the Soviet Union. While such murders have become less common, many incidences still occur.