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Two motives in Saratov Region prosecutor murder

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SARATOV, February 19 (RIA Novosti) - Investigators are looking at two key motives for the murder of Russian Saratov Region prosecutor, an Investigation Committee representative said Tuesday.

"The main lead is the killing is connected with Yevgeny Grigoryev's service activities, and the second is revenge as a motive for retaliation against an earlier prosecutor decision, a criminal case or another verdict made against an offender," Anton Pakhomov told journalists.

Grigoryev, 48, the chief prosecutor in the Russian Volga region of Saratov, was gunned down in a contract-style killing February 13 in the yard of the Saratov prosecutor's office at about 10:00 p.m. local time (7:00 p.m. GMT).

Grigoryev, appointed prosecutor in February 2006, had earlier initiated regional laws to fight corruption. In 2006 alone, he opened corruption and abuse of office inquiries against 25 municipal officials and lawmakers.

Pakhomov also said investigators had ruled out robbery or financial reasons as a motive for the killing.

A senior investigator with the regional prosecutor's office earlier said there were witnesses to the slaying and their testimony could aid police in drawing up an identikit portrait of the killer.

The latest high-profile probe in the region was directed against the mayor of Saratov, Yury Aksyonenko, accused of abuse of office in granting ownership rights for plots of land. The investigation into the charges is continuing.

In the fall of 2007, Grigoryev proposed banning the sale of alcohol from 10:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. and imposing a fine of 400,000 rubles (over $16,000) for offenders, doubling the sum for any repeated violation of the law.

Alcohol sales in the region totaled some $40 million in 2007.

Grigoryev's colleagues were sure that the murder was connected to his work, one of them told RIA Novosti anonymously that, "he got in someone's way." His father, a well-known local lawyer, told the agency that he considered his son's death to have been the result of a contract killing.

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