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Official Killed in Podolsk

In a second high-profile murder in the Moscow region in a month, the official who oversaw the finances of the city of Podolsk — the region's third-biggest municipality — was gunned down in her home on Monday.

Vera Sviridova, 53, was shot in the head in her private house in the nearby village of Svitino sometime before 8 a.m., regional investigators said in a statement.

Her body was discovered by her personal driver, a spokeswoman for the region's Investigative Committee told Gazeta.ru. She added that Sviridova lived alone and apparently let the murderer in herself, switching off the door alarm.

Investigators believe Sviridova's murder was linked to her professional activities, though they did not rule out robbery, the spokeswoman said. A case was opened on murder charges, which carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Sviridova held her job since 1996, with a two-year break in the early 2000s, city lawmaker Pavel Maximovich told Gazeta.ru. She handled Podolsk's finances, but was not involved in decision making, he said.

Podolsk, located 15 kilometers south of Moscow, has 188,000 residents, next only to the regional cities of Khimki and Balashikha. It is a thriving industrial center, and its budget revenues stood at 22 billion rubles ($680 million) last year, local newspaper Podolsky Rabochy reported in February.

In late August, Yevgeny Dushko, mayor of the Moscow region city of Sergiyev Posad, was gunned down outside his house. The probe is ongoing. Investigators have not commented on the possibility of a link between the two shootings.

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