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Russian Oil Official Shot Dead

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- A senior security official at Russian oil firm Bashneft was shot dead close to his home today, investigators said.

Vladimir Butorin, 57, who was in charge of protecting industrial secrets for the mid-size oil producer was found dead with five gunshot wounds, investigators from the Prosecutor General's office said in a statement.

The statement said a murder investigation had been launched, but did not mention a motive.

State news agency RIA Novosti quoted investigators as saying the killing could have been linked to Butorin's work at Bashneft.

Bashneft offered a 100,000 rouble ($3,355) reward for information on the killing, which took place in the city of Ufa in the Urals Mountains region of Bashkortostan, Interfax news agency reported.

Contract killings plagued Russia's oil industry in the early 1990s but have been relatively rare in recent years.

Bashneft is controlled by Russia's oil-to-telecoms group Sistema.