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Gunmen Kill Editor Of 'Forbes' Russian Edition

The editor of the Russian edition of the U.S. business magazine "Forbes" has been shot dead in Moscow. Paul Klebnikov (aka Pavel Khlebnikov) was gunned down as he walked out of his office late on 9 July and died on his way to hospital.

10 July 2004 -- Paul Klebnikov was leaving his office in northeastern Moscow yesterday when a car pulled up and several shots were fired.

News reports said cartridges of two different calibers were found, suggesting two assailants had opened fire.

A colleague who spoke to Klebnikov as he lay dying, Aleksandr Gordeev, editor of the Russian edition of "Newsweek," said Klebnikov told him he had no idea why he had been attacked.

But a spokeswoman for the Prosecutor-General's Office, Svetlana Petrenko, said investigators' main theory is that the killing was connected to Klebnikov's professional activities.

U.S. business magazine "Forbes'" Russian edition launched in April with Klebnikov, a U.S. citizen of Russian origin, as editor. Shortly afterwards, he said he believed the era of "bandit capitalism" was already over and that Russian business was moving into a new stage.

"[Russian business is moving into a new]...stage, moving away from the shadow economy, moving away from, let's say, black-market type of mentality, towards a more civilized, transparent open form of capitalism," he said.

The 41-year-old was best known for a book he wrote critical of Boris Berezovskii, one of the so-called oligarchs who amassed fortunes during privatization in the 1990s.

"Forbes'" Russian edition caused a furor in May after it published a list of the country's richest people.

"Forbes" publisher, Steve Forbes, praised Klebnikov as a "courageous, dedicated, and ever-curious" reporter.

Klebnikov's family urged U.S. and international authorities to help find and convict those responsible for the slaying.

(compiled from wire reports)