LUKoil Executive's Daughter Goes Missing

Police in the Moscow region were searching Wednesday for the teenage daughter of a LUKoil executive whose disappearance last weekend roused kidnapping fears.

Viktoria Teslyuk, 16, has not been seen since she left her home in a luxury village north of the capital on Saturday morning, the Investigative Committee's regional branch said.

Teslyuk was supposed to attend a lesson with her math tutor but did not show up. "When the tutor tried to call her, she did not pick up. When he called again later, her phone was switched off," committee spokeswoman Irina Gumyonnaya told Interfax on Tuesday.

Teslyuk's father, Robert, is an executive with LUKoil Overseas Kazakhstan, a subsidiary of the country's biggest private oil company, LUKoil, national media reported.

The company published a statement on its web site with three cell phone numbers, asking anybody with information about the case to come forward.

Photos of the missing girl were posted online by Liza Alert, a volunteer group formed last year after 4-year-old Elizaveta Fomkina disappeared in the region. Searchers later found the frozen bodies of her and her mentally disabled aunt, who had gotten lost in a forest.

Reached by telephone Wednesday, Liza Alert spokeswoman Yeketarina Golovei said 15 to 20 volunteers have distributed flyers in neighboring villages in the Mytishchinsky district.

The Investigative Committee said a murder case has been opened, prompting media speculation that this was done because of the prominence of the missing girl's family, not because she was feared dead.

Committee spokespeople did not answer repeated calls for comment Wednesday, but spokeswoman Irina Gumyonnaya told Russian News Service radio on Tuesday that investigators did not consider the disappearance to be a kidnapping for ransom.

Oil executives, however, are no strangers to kidnapping cases.

In 2009, the 17-year-old son of then-Rosneft vice president Mikhail Stavsky was kidnapped at the doors of a Moscow oil institute where he was studying and imprisoned in a house in the Moscow region for two months while the kidnappers demanded an unspecified sum for his release.

Last year, a city court convicted two Chechen natives of kidnapping the teen, also named Mikhail, to finance Islamist insurgents in the North Caucasus.

In 2002, LUKoil chief financial officer Sergei Kukura was kidnapped by unknown attackers. Kukura was released several days later, and the company and security services have released very little information about the abductors or their motives. No one has been convicted in that case.

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