- German Gorbuntsov was ‘blasted with a submachine gun’ as he entered a block of flats
- He is in a medically-induced coma in hospital
A Russian banker is in a coma today after being shot in a suspected assassination in London.
German Gorbuntsov, an exile in Britain, is in a critical condition in hospital, after being shot several times near his luxury apartment.
45-year-old’s friends fear a contract bid possibly originating in
war-ravaged Chechnya was made to silence him as a witness in a high
profile attempted murder case in Moscow.
Coma: German Gorbuntsov was repeatedly shot outside a block of flats near Canary Wharf in an attempted assassination
A man with a submachine gun opened fire as Mr Gorbuntsov
entered the block of flats near Canary Wharf in the
heart of the capital’s financial district, according to reports.
The gunman fled the scene before police arrived, it was reported in Moscow business newspaper Kommersant.
Mr Gorbuntsov, who used to own banks in Russia and Moldova, was ‘seriously injured’ and placed in a medically induced coma.
The attacker was described as a slim white man, around 6ft tall and wearing dark clothing.
Russian businessman living in London said: ‘Scotland Yard worked all
night at German’s house. All information around the case is secret.’
The shooting comes five years after Russian
dissident Alexander Litvinenko, 43, was murdered by radioactive
polonium-210 in November 2006.
No one has ever been prosecuted over the killing of the former KGB agent who had tea was spiked at a top London hotel.
British prosecutors have named fellow ex-KGB agent Andrei Lugovoy as the main suspect but the Russian authorities have repeatedly refused to send him to face trial in the UK.
lawyer Vadim Vedenin in Kommersant newspaper linked the attack to his
client’s role in a 2009 investigation into the attempted murder in
Moscow of banker Alexander Antonov, whose son Vladimir was linked with
Portsmouth Football Club.
Three ethnic Chechens were charged but the organisers remain unidentified and the case was closed until this year.
new testimony from Mr Gorbuntsov suggested the involvement of two former business
partners of the wounded tycoon, the lawyer said.
The two men deny any role.
The banker was himself at one point investigated as
possible ringleader but never charged.
same Chechen gang was found guilty in Russia of assassinating Ruslan
Yamadayev, part of a clan rivaling powerful Kremlin-backed ruler of
Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov.
He was shot dead four years ago close to the British Embassy in Moscow.
Shooting: German Gorbuntsov, 45, was attacked on the Isle of Dogs close to Canary Wharf
Mr Gorbuntsov is also on Moldova’s wanted list over allegations of an illegal bank takeover and embezzlement. He denies any wrongdoing.
But the businessman’s lawyer Vadim Vedenin linked the London attack to the Moscow case.
Gorbuntsov has previously said: ‘If I go back to Russia, they will kill me’.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan
Police in London refused to confirm the victim’s identity but said they
were investigating a shooting on the Isle of Dogs on Tuesday evening.
said: ‘The victim was shot a number of times as he entered a block of
flats by a suspect who is described as white, 6ft tall and of slim
London Ambulance Service attended and a man, aged in his 40s, was taken
to hospital. His condition is described as critical but stable.
‘Detectives from the Trident Gang Crime Command are investigating and are treating the shooting as attempted murder.
‘They are keen to speak to anyone who was in the area at the time or who may have information about the incident.’
No one has been arrested.
Metropolitan Police officers are believed to be liaising with their counter-terrorism unit, The Times reported.
However, a spokesman refused to say whether the shooting is being discussed with police forces internationally.
It is understood the businessmen spent time in a Soviet jail before beginning a career as a businessman in the early 1990s.
He was the co-founder of nearly 40 companies involved in security, construction, real estate, and finance.
In 2005 he was a shareholder and board member of Interus in Moscow.
Will Stewart and Rob Cooper