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Manhunt Continues for Businessman Who Went on Gun Rampage Outside Moscow

Amiran Georgadze

As a manhunt for a businessman believed to have shot dead four people this week in the Moscow regional satellite city of Krasnogorsk failed to yield results for a third day Wednesday, a picture of the entrepreneur-turned-fugitive and his apparent motives has emerged in the Russian media.

Amiran Georgadze, 56, is wanted on suspicion of fatally shooting four people Monday, including two local officials: the first deputy mayor of Krasnogorsk, Yury Karaulov, and the head of the local electric company, Georgy Kotlyarenko. Georgadze killed both at a meeting inside City Hall's deputy mayor's office. The other victims were Georgadze's business partner Tristan Zakaidze and a local resident who appears to have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The police launched a search immediately and on Tuesday offered a million rubles for any information on his whereabouts.  

The relationships between the victims and the suspected killer suggests a business dispute:

Georgadze and Karaulov had cofounded Krasnogorsk Electric Company, which was headed by Kotlyarenko, one of the other victims.

Georgadze and Karaulov also oversaw the local volleyball club Zorky, of which Karaulov was president and Georgadze was his deputy. The Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper cited anonymous sources in the local administration as saying that Karaulov had “given birth” to Georgadze as a businessmen.

Whoever helped him launch his career, by the time of the killings, Georgian-born Georgadze was a prominent Krasnogorsk region businessmen and landowner who owned about 30 hectares of land worth about $50 million in Krasnogorsk and the surrounding area, the RBC news agency reported, quoting an anonymous source close to the local land market.

More than 20 construction and real estate companies are registered in his name and that of his son, RBC reported. According to the media, Georgadze's main development company was the Myakininskoye Porechye group, which had big plans: Its official website claims that it had completed six projects and had nine more under negotiations, including a local ski resort and a riverside recreation area with a yacht club.

Georgadze worked closely with local municipal authorities in his development business dealings, several media reported. He was also head of Krasnogorsk's trade and industry union, and had received a certificate of thanks from the Moscow patriarchate for donating funds to Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral.

But something appears to have gone wrong in the steady construction of Georgadze's business empire.

Various media reported that after the completion of a multibillion-ruble housing project, the local administration had refused to provide the necessary infrastructure for the complex, and that Rosstroinadzor, Russia's construction works inspection agency, had discovered multiple violations in its construction.

Georgadze had been receiving a lot of state-sponsored real estate contracts, but was cut off from them recently, Interfax cited a spokesman for the Investigative Committee as saying Monday, hours after the killings.  

New developers had appeared on the local real estate market and had taken over some of the state contracts, a source close to Moscow region administration told RBC.

Another RBC source said that the terms for developers had changed recently, when the right to give final approval to any construction work in the Moscow region was handed over to the regional government from municipal bureaucrats. This could have resulted in Karaulov failing to keep his promises to the businessman, enraging Georgadze, said the source.

Georgadze had been a member of the ruling United Russia political party for more than a decade, since 2003. He lost interest in politics in 2008 but was still helping the Krasnogorsk party office financially, Svetlana Gracheva, head of the local branch of United Russia, told RBC. The businessman was expelled from the party unanimously on Oct. 20, the day after the shooting, Interfax reported.

Contact the author at v.kolotilov@imedia.ru

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