2 Mar 2020 20:36

Putin may order resumption of Listyev murder probe, but no such decisions made so far - Peskov

MOSCOW. March 2 (Interfax) - Russian President Vladimir Putin may order that the investigation into the murder of Vladislav Listyev be resumed, but he has not yet done so, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said.

Responding to a question as to whether the president can order the Russian Investigative Committee to resume the investigation into this high-profile crime, which was committed 25 years ago, Peskov said, "Purely legally, I can't tell you right away if he can order the Investigative Committee. Generally, he can well do so, but no decisions have been [made] by the president on this matter so far."

Journalists Ksenia Sobchak, Alexei Pivovarov, and Rodion Chepel earlier called on the administrations of the Russian Investigative Committee and Prosecutor General's Office to resume the investigation into the Listyev murder case.

Commenting on this, Peskov said, "It hasn't been in the area of the president's attention thus far; there have been no orders or requests from him on this matter."

Meanwhile, Pyotr Triboi, who led a Russian Prosecutor General's Office team that investigated the Listyev case said, the murder may well be considered solved, and the investigators who handled the case believe they know who ordered, organized and carried out the killing.

Asked by journalists whether the assassination can be considered solved, Triboi replied, "I believe there are no mysteries for us in this case as concerns the crime participants and accomplices."

The former investigator reaffirmed that he implied those who ordered, organized and carried out the killing.

Asked to confirm whether he knows the person who contracted the killing of Listyev, Triboi replied, "I think we have solid grounds for our suspicions."

Triboi's interview is part of a documentary entitled "Twenty-Five Years Later: Who Killed the Top Star of New Russian TV?" by journalist Alexei Pivovarov.

In sharing some details of the investigation, Triboi said the prime suspects exposed themselves by doing "various silly things."

"The people who were under suspicion and were being worked on did various silly things, and we recorded them," he said.

In particular, one of the suspects shadowed by members of the investigative team traveled to another city and, sensing surveillance, called an acquaintance in Moscow, who was also of interest to the investigation, in order to tell him the names of operatives and investigators handling the Listyev assassination case who had arrived in the same city, Triboi said.

"The suspect answers him: hang up, come back to Moscow and stay quiet," Triboi said, adding, "Well, isn't that a reason for being suspicious?"

The man who made the call from the other city is "still a State Duma deputy," he said.

Asked to name the other person involved in the conversation, the one who remained in Moscow, Triboi said, "I wouldn't like to. He is alive and fit."

Former Russian Prosecutor General Yury Skuratov, who was in office in the second half of the 1990s, did not name the person who he believes ordered Listyev's assassination but confirmed Triboi's words that investigators had tracked down the entire chain of perpetrators.

"This was a unique case, and a huge amount of work had yet to be done. The case was super complicated, also, because the suspects put up colossal resistance to the investigation. This was a serious struggle," Skuratov said in Pivovarov's film.

Asked whom exactly he meant, Skuratov said, "Well, different people. I always say: hope springs eternal, and so I'm not going to disclose details of the material we have."

Media earlier mentioned Sergei Lisovsky, currently first deputy head of the Russian Federation Council Committee on Agriculture and Food Policy and Environmental Management, as a person who could have been possibly implicated in the case dealing with Listyev's assassination.

Lisovsky himself declined comment on the new journalistic investigation into the assassination of Listyev.

In reply to a request by Interfax for comments on new journalistic findings into the crime, Lisovsky's press service quoted him as saying, "I don't comment on silly things."

Three years ago, on March 1, 2017, the press service for the Russian Investigative Committee told Interfax that operative measures on the Listyev murder case were continuing, although the investigation had been suspended.

Listyev created and hosted a number of popular TV programs. He became general director of ORT television in 1995. He was killed in his apartment building in Moscow on March 1, 1995.

There were various theories in the Listyev murder case; investigators determined the victim's lifestyle, the people close to him, and the circumstances that preceded the crime. Information on threatening statements and actions against Listyev and such actions taken by the journalist on other people was collected, as well as information on the journalist's entrepreneurial activities and projects and his participation in the creation of some commercial enterprises. According to the Investigative Committee, inquiries and requests were made, including to relevant foreign authorities. The mutual obligations of Listyev and the firms founded by him were studied. There was also a theory that the killing was connected to the journalist's work as general director of ORT television.

It was not possible to determine the individuals who committed the crime after an 11-year investigation. Therefore, the Prosecutor General's Office suspended the preliminary investigation into the criminal case on April 3, 2006.