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Court extends custody for chief suspect in senior banker murder -1

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(Recasts, adds additional information in paras 3-5)

MOSCOW, August 9 (RIA Novosti) - A Moscow court extended Thursday the custody for the chief suspect in the murder of a senior Central Bank official until November 13.

Prosecutors arrested Alexei Frenkel in January as the chief suspect in the murder of Andrei Kozlov, a Central Bank money laundering regulator, who was gunned down in September 2006, in an apparent contract killing. Kozlov closed down Frenkel's VIP-bank three months prior to the murder.

Following his arrest, Frenkel, who could face life in prison, published two letters accusing the Central Bank of accepting bribes in exchange for allowing banks to join the deposit insurance system. Prosecutors are investigating Frenkel's accusations.

Kozlov, 41, who has been described as a vigorous campaigner against corruption and money laundering in Russia's banking sector, was shot in the head late September 13 in what appears to have been a contract killing.

Kozlov and his driver, who died instantly, were gunned down as they left a sports stadium in northeast Moscow. The banker underwent emergency surgery, but died several hours later.

In all, seven suspects are now in custody for their alleged involvement in Kozlov's murder, including Liana Askerova, a restaurateur, whose testimony eventually led to Frenkel's arrest.

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