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A body, suspected to be that of the daughter of a Lukoil top executive, has been found in the Moscow region, RIA Novosti reported a police source as saying on Tuesday.
The source said 16-year-old Viktoria Teslyuk, daughter of Robert Teslyuk, was found by the roadside near the town of Taldom, about 100 kilometres north of Moscow “when the snow melted”.
“The cause of death of the unknown person has been provisionally established as an open cerebral-brain trauma and fracture of the skull,” the Investigative Committee said in a statement. Viktoria Teslyuk was reported missing on March 26.
The Teslyuk case comes as experts fear that mafia groups are responsible for more Russian businesspeople and their relatives being kidnapped for ransom.
If the death of the Lukoil executive’s daughter is confirmed, it would be a rare case of when such a kidnapping ends up in murder. In many cases, kidnap victims are released with the help of security services, and secret ransoms, experts believe. Viktoria Teslyuk’s disappearance was reported to the police by her father, CEO of Lukoil Overseas Kazakhstan. A group of volunteers began a search.
Three days later, the police opened a criminal case and said they suspected she had been killed.
Experts believe that the kidnapping of top managers and their relatives in Russia for ransom is on the increase.
“It’s too soon to tell whether Teslyuk’s death was a kidnapping gone wrong or a murder, but in general terms it is clear that Russia has a serious kidnapping problem,” Mark Galeotti, an expert on Russian organised crime at New York University’s Centre for Global Affairs, told The Moscow News in e-mailed comments.
Many cases of kidnappings are not reported, Galeotti said, but dealt with by paying ransoms - “or turning to private security or underworld kryshas to handle the problem. It’s hard to be sure, but it’s likely that half of the ransoms are paid.”
Many oligarchs and business leaders prefer to avoid such situations and send their children to study and live abroad.
In autumn 2008, Rustam Nurmuhametov, the 19-year old son of Sovfracht’s CEO Raisa Nurmukametova, was kidnapped. A ransom of 3 million euros was paid, and after Nurmuhametova’s son was released, she sent him abroad for security reasons, RIA Novosti reported.
A little less than a month after Teslyuk’s daughter went missing, computer software magnate Yevgeny Kaspersky’s 20-year old son Ivan was kidnapped.
The kidnappers demanded 3 million euros for his release, RIA Novosti reported, citing police sources.
Five days later, Ivan Kaspersky was released with the help of the Moscow region police.
According to investigators, the group of five kidnappers found out Ivan Kaspersky’s address from information he had posted on social networking web sites.
“It’s strange that top managers like Yevgeny Kaspersky do not pay attention to such details as the security of his relatives,” Yakov Rezgo, a director of Alfa-USB, a Moscow security firm, told The Moscow News.
In some cases kidnappers are brought to justice, however. In April 2009, 17-year old Mikhail Stavsky, son of Rosneft vice-president Mikhail Stavsky, was kidnapped. After he was released almost three months later, his kidnappers, Magomed Gorchkhanov and Zarema Datayeva, were captured, found guilty of kidnapping and sentenced to 14 and six years in prison, respectively.
Security experts say ransoms are paid in many cases, but are not disclosed publicly in an effort to discourage kidnapping.
“There are cases when it’s said that hostages were released without paid ransom, but in reality the money were paid to the kidnappers, but it’s very rare when this becomes known to the public,” Rezgo said. “There is a fear that this can become a trend and other top managers’ children will be kidnapped.”
Cutbacks in security for businessmen and their families since the 2008 crisis could be to blame, Rezgo said.
“This has led to the terror attacks such as Domodedovo, and frequent kidnapping cases,” he said.
Many kidnaps unreported
Many kidnapping cases in Russia are never reported to the police because relatives of the kidnapped are afraid to risk harm coming to the hostages, experts say.
Igor Trunov, a Moscow lawyer best known for representing the families of victims of the 2002 Dubrovka theatre siege, put the figure at 60 per cent.
“There are two reasons for that – one is that police [officers] very often are involved in such kidnappings, and the second is that people are just afraid of cause harm to their relatives,” said Trunov, adding that he deals with many kidnapping cases.
“I advise people on a legal level what to do, when their relatives are taken hostage,” he said, adding that kidnapping in Russia is now close to Latin American levels. “Thousands of cases are never reported because the police forces are very corrupted and very often involved in kidnapping too.”
The kidnapping business took off after the Chechen wars, Trunov said. “Back then, thousands of people went missing and the police did nothing.”
To change the situation, fighting corruption in law enforcement agencies is a top priority, Trunov said.
“First of all, people should realise that we should fight corruption in the police force, which will then help to solve the rest of the problems.”
Источник: The Moscow News weekly
Ссылка на источник: http://themoscownews.com/local/20110503/188636268.html?referfrommn