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Russia Arrests Suspect in Murder of Central Banker

Russian prosecutors say police have arrested the suspected mastermind behind last year's contract murder of senior central bank officer and corruption fighter Andrei Kozlov.

Authorities have not named the suspect. But Russian and foreign news agencies identified him as banker Alexei Frenkel.

Russia's Interfax news agency quoted sources as saying that Frenkel helped found two Russian banks that sustained multi-billion dollar losses when Kozlov annulled their licenses and closed them down for breaking laws on money laundering. New reports say six other suspects are also in custody.

Kozlov, the first deputy chairman of the Russian Central Bank, and his driver were shot and killed in September as they left a soccer game involving bank employees.

Kozlov's murder was one of a spate of high-profile killings last year. An unknown assailant shot and killed outspoken Kremlin critic and journalist Anna Politkovskaya in Moscow three weeks after Kozlov's murder. Just days later, a gunman killed local bank manager Alexander Plokhin.

In a fourth case, the co-owner of a private bank was shot and killed in November, in what authorities said appeared to be a contract killing.

No arrests have been reported in those killings.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.