Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
7 February 2005

Prominent Armenian Businessman Slain In Russia

By Karine Kalantarian

The owner of Armenia’s largest car dealership has been shot dead in Russia less than nine months after surviving an apparent assassination attempt in Yerevan, law-enforcement sources told RFE/RL on Monday.

Rafael Shahmuradian of the Armenia-Lada company was said to have been murdered at the weekend in the central Russian city of Tolyati, which is home to Russia’s biggest car factory built in Soviet times. Armenia-Lada specializes in sales of cars manufactured there.

No other circumstances of the incident were immediately known.

Shahmuradian was already a target of apparent assassination last May when his car came under fire in broad daylight in Yerevan. He was lightly wounded and hospitalized.

Shahmuradian blamed the shooting on Armenia’s Transport and Communications Minister Andranik Manukian who also owns a company selling Russian cars. Manukian strongly denied the charges.

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