Media Reports Georgian Man’s Assassination in Berlin Could Have Been Carried Out by Russian Agent
Murdered Zelimkhan Khangoshvili had been a field commander during the second Chechen war. Russian authorities had put him on the "wanted" list for terrorism. News outlets report that a man arrested for the murder could have been using a fake passport
Recent investigative journalism suggests that a Russian man, going by the name “Vadim Sokolov,” who was arrested on suspicion of murdering Georgian citizen Zelimkhan Khangoshvili in Berlin, is in fact, 54-year-old “Vadim Krasikov,” who may have ties to the Russian government.
This possibility was raised in a joint investigation by The Insider, Bellingcat, and Der Spiegel, published on Tuesday (Dec. 3), Deutsche Welle reported.
Krasikov was “wanted” in Russia for a murder committed in a similar manner.
Khangoshvili was shot dead in the Maly Tirgarten park in central Berlin on Aug. 23.
Back in January 2013, a Kabardino-Balkarian businessman, Albert Nazarov, was killed by a man who rode up behind him on a bicycle. A year later, Krasikov was declared “wanted” in connection with that murder.
However, journalists’ sources with “access to police bases” said that Krasikov’s name cannot be found in the Integrated Databank (IDB) of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, despite there having been a case number for him.
The journalists concluded that “someone post-factum erased information about Krasikov in the database, which in turn proves Krasikov’s connection with the official bodies of the Russian Federation. Another piece of evidence is that Russia denied a request from Germany to provide data on Krasikov.
To establish that “Sokolov” is actually “Krasikov,” journalists also used an Interpol photo. Without explanation, Krasikov is no longer in the Interpol database. The Insider said it would unveil further details related to Krasikov’s identification in the next part of its investigation.
As for the murdered man, Khangoshvili had been a field commander during the second Chechen war. Russian authorities had put him on the “wanted” list for terrorism.
Khangoshvili’s alleged killer was detained in Berlin on the same day. That man, believed to be Krasikov, had a passport identifying him as “Vadim Sokolov.”
German federal prosecutors said they intend to further investigate the murder.
On Wednesday (Dec. 4) two employees of the Russian embassy were declared “personas non-grata” and were told to leave Germany within seven days due to insufficient cooperation of the Russian in the murder investigation.
Investigating authorities suspect that the assassination could have been committed by the order of the Russian authorities or the leadership of Chechnya, the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated.