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Assailant in London Shoots Expat Banker

London police have confirmed that the man shot several times in the business area of the East End last week is former Russian banker German Gorbuntsov, news reports said.

On Friday, Kommersant reported that Gorbuntsov was in critical condition following an attack by a gunman Tuesday night outside an apartment block on the Isle of Dogs, close to London's Canary Wharf financial district.

Gorbuntsov, the former owner of several banks in Russia and Moldova, was in critical but stable condition as of Friday, The Associated Press reported.

"The victim was shot a number of times as he entered a block of flats," Scotland Yard said in a statement. Police suspect that the shooting was an attempted contract killing.

Gorbuntsov's lawyer, Vadim Vedenin, told Kommersant that the attack might be linked to his client's role in the investigation of a murder attempt on another Russian banker, Alexander Antonov.

In 2010, Chechen natives Timur Isayev and Aslanbek Dadayev were given lengthy prison sentences for an attempt on the life of Antonov and his bodyguard, Alexander Komarov. They were injured in a shootout in Moscow on March 11, 2009.

The episode was thought to be linked to the trial of Dadayev for the 2008 high-profile slaying of Ruslan Yamadayev, a former State Duma deputy and powerful rival of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov.

Dadayev and his associate Elimpasha Khatsuyev were convicted of killing Yamadayev, but the mastermind of the case remains unknown, the same as in the case of Antonov.

Yamadayev's brother, Isa, used to claim that all three convicts were connected to State Duma Deputy Adam Delimkhanov, a relative of Kadyrov. Delimkhanov denied any links to the criminals.

Russian investigators looked into whether Gorbuntsov was involved in the attack on Antonov in connection with their earlier bank deal, but he has never been charged in the Antonov episode.

The case was reopened earlier this month after Gorbuntsov reportedly submitted new testimony to  police suggesting the involvement of his former business partners, Pyotr Chuvilin and Sergei Mendeleyev, Kommersant reported.

Gorbuntsov is wanted in Moldova on several business-related charges, including an illegal bank takeover and embezzlement.

The Moldovan lawyer for Gorbuntsov, Valery Andronik, said the attack in London might be linked to Russia.

"German Valeryevich told me many times: 'If I return to Russia, I will be buried,'" Andronik was quoted as saying by Kommersant.

In 2010, Gorbuntsov and Chuvilin, who is vice president of Inkredbank and a former general director of the Spartak ice hockey club, sued two Interior Ministry officials alleging extortion. Both officials were convicted and jailed.

But Gorbuntsov left Russia the same year, accusing two other partners of taking over his Russian assets and causing him losses of $2.5 billion, Kommersant wrote.

Antonov is the son of former Snoras bank owner Vladimir Antonov, whose extradition from London is sought by Lithuanian authorities over claims of fraud and embezzlement.

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