Two men accused of murder of the head of a leading Russian weapons manufacturer arrested

Igor Klimov, acting general director of the Almaz-Antei consortium producing air defense weapons, was shot dead in June 2003 as he was leaving his home in Moscow. Klimov, a former intelligence officer, managed to wrest the gun from the killer's hands after he was shot, but died before he could use it.

Last month, authorities arrested Konstantin Bratchikov and Stanislav Tyurin on charges of involvement in the murder, and the Leninsky district court later sanctioned their arrest, the Prosecutor General's office said in a statement Friday. Prosecutors accused Bratchikov of ordering Klimov's killing and charged Tyurin with organizing it.

Almaz-Antei, a consortium of more than 40 companies formed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2002, is one of the nation's top weapons manufacturers. Klimov was appointed acting director several months before his murder following a power struggle between business clans trying to dominate the consortium.

Attacks on prominent businessmen have remained common in Russia despite efforts to shed the gangland image it acquired in the 1990s, the Ap reports.

During the probe into Klimov's killing, investigators also have uncovered a criminal group which they said was involved in several other murders, including the killing of St.Petersburg businesswoman Yelena Neshcheret, who was stabbed to death in October 2003, prosecutors said Friday. They said the group included a senior police officer.

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