The opposition-minded mayor of Russia's fourth-biggest city of Yekaterinburg denied accusations of involvement in an elderly woman's murder, ITAR-Tass said Friday.
Yevgeny Roizman, a longtime thorn in the Kremlin's side, demanded a public lie detector test and a meeting with his accuser, the news agency said.
City legislator Oleg Kinev admitted to murdering and dismembering an 80-year-old local poetess, saying he did so because he was in debt to Roizman, pro-Kremlin tabloid Izvestia said Friday.
Kinev claimed to have paid Roizman to inherit his seat in the legislature of Yekaterinburg, a city of 1.4 million in the Urals, for the price of 5 million rubles ($140,000).
The lawmaker was cited as saying he had no money, but tried to pay off the debt by seizing the downtown apartment of one Olga Ledovskaya, whom he allegedly killed in May, aided by two accomplices.
Ledovskaya's body was found in a swamp outside the city. Kinev is in pretrial detention and faces up to 15 years in prison if charged and convicted of murder.
Roizman said earlier that it was him who reported Kinev to the police.
Though he is not facing criminal proceedings, Roizman has come under pressure from the city's pro-government lawmakers, who have called on him to resign.
The 51-year-old mayor is best known for his relentless and heavy-handed anti-drug campaigning, which has earned him both an ardent crowd of admirers and accusations of brutality and abuse of addicts' rights.
He is a member of the Civic Platform, the liberal, moderately oppositional party founded by tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov.
Prokhorov was ousted from his previous party, the Right Cause, by Kremlin loyalists ahead of the 2011 State Duma vote, and blamed the move on the Kremlin's displeasure with his alliance with Roizman.
The anti-drug campaigner unexpectedly trounced pro-government rivals in the mayoral vote in Yekaterinburg last September. The job is largely ceremonial, as most power rests with the city manager appointed by local lawmakers.