A former Russian banker is in a critical condition following an attack by an unknown gunman in the business area of London’s East End, the Russian Kommersant daily reported on Friday, quoting local police.
German Gorbuntsov, a former owner of several banks in Russia and Moldova, who is living in London, was approaching his house on the Isle of Dogs late in the afternoon on March 20, when an attacker armed with a submachine gun opened fire on him, police said.
The gunman fled the scene before police arrived. Gorbuntsov was seriously injured and taken to hospital, where he has been placed in a medically induced coma, the report said.
Gorbuntsov’s lawyer, Vadim Vedenin, says he thinks the attack may be linked to his client’s role in a 2009 investigation into a murder attempt on another Russian banker Alexander Antonov. Three ethnic Chechens were charged with the attempted murder but the organizers remain unidentified and the case was closed until this year.
It was reopened on March 2 after Gorbuntsov, who himself had been investigated as possible ringleader, submitted a new testimony to police, which they believe suggested the involvement of Gorbuntsov's former business partners, Pyotr Chuvilin and Sergei Mendeleyev, Vedenin told the paper.
The two men have denied any links to the case, the report said.
Gorbuntsov is also wanted in Moldova, on several charges, including an illegal bank takeover and embezzlement.
Moldovan prosecutor Viorel Radetsky told the newspaper that investigators had already collected “major evidence” against Gorbuntsov, adding that the Moldovan Prosecutor’s Office was cooperating with Russia’s law enforcement authorities on the case.
However, Gorbuntsov’s Moldovan lawyer Valery Andronik told Kommersant he believed the attack on his client was unlikely to have been masterminded in Moldova.
“He told me several times: ‘If I go back to Russia, they will kill me’,” the lawyer said.