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<i>Forbes</i> Editor Gunned Down in Moscow - 2004-07-10


The editor of Forbes magazine's Russian edition, who became famous after writing a book about exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky, has been shot dead. Forty-one-year-old Paul Klebnikov was gunned down as he walked from his office late Friday. Mr. Klebnikov, who was born in the United States of Russian heritage, had been working for Forbes since 1989, and launched the Russian language edition last April. The magazine published a list of Russia's wealthiest individuals and reported Moscow had more billionaires than any other city in the world.

Speaking shortly after the launch of the Russian Forbes, Mr. Khlebnikov said the publication angered some of the Russian oligarchs.

In 1996, Forbes published Mr. Klebnikov's profile of Boris Berezovsky, the once-powerful businessman now living in exile. The tycoon filed a lawsuit against Forbes, but dropped it several years later, after the magazine withdrew some allegations. In 2001, Mr. Klebnikov also published a best-selling book, Godfather of the Kremlin,which was highly critical of Mr. Berezovsky.

Mr. Klebnikov is among more than a dozen Russian journalists who have been murdered in Russia since the demise of the Soviet Union.

Executive Director of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists Ann Cooper said the organization was shocked by the murder.

"I will say that we at the Committee to Protect Journalists, over the last five years, have documented 14 cases in Russia of journalists killed because of their work," she said. "And in many of these cases, there were journalists who were gunned down, or stabbed, or bludgeoned to death in a similar fashion. It's a huge tragedy."

The Russian news agency, Interfax, reported, police found the car from which the shots that killed Mr. Klebnikov allegedly were fired, and that Russia's top law enforcement officer, the prosecutor general, has taken charge of the investigation.

ITAR-TASS news agency quoted an official from the prosecutor's office as saying investigators are pursuing several theories, the main one being that the murder was connected to Mr. Klebnikov's work.

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