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Theory of Berezovsky's Involvement in Politkoskaya Killing Is Not New, But Hard to Prove - Source

MOSCOW. Sept 18 (Interfax) - The theory of the possible involvement of businessman Boris Berezovsky in the killing of journalist Anna Politkovskaya was initially one of the investigators' main theories, but it is very difficult to prove, sources in the law enforcement agencies told Interfax on Friday.

"Operatives and investigators had information that Berezovsky may be behind this crime at the initial stage of the investigation. However, the problem is that very solid evidence is needed, especially given the businessman's personality, and that was a problem," the source said.

"A suspect's confession is no longer 'queen of evidence,' like it was in the 1930s. Now there is a need for objective evidence, direct or indirect, which will be accepted by the jury and the court," the source said.

Otherwise, those who have given valuable evidence in court can recant it, citing pressure, the source said.

According to media reports, Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, former head of the operational search department of the Moscow GUVD, who now lives in London, has mentioned Berezovsky in his evidence. After the retired colonel made a deal with the investigators and gave detailed evidence about the other people who took part in the crime, he became a key figure in the investigation. In exchange for that, he has been cleared of killing
Politkovskaya, the media have reported. Investigators now believe the crime was masterminded by Chechen native Lom-Ali Gaitukayev.

According to Pavlyuchenkov, the negotiations on the killing were conducted by Gaitukayev in Ukraine because he was denied entry to Russia at that time. Initially Gaitukayev just ordered the tracking of Politkovskaya, but later he ordered to kill her no later on October 7, ideally, on Vladimir Putin's birthday, Pavlyuchenkov said.

The businessman's lawyer Andrei Borovkov called that theory "complete nonsense." "These people are dependent on the investigators and will say anything," he told Ekho Moskvy radio.


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