Monday, May 21, 2012

#Russia: Mikhail Kravchenko Shot Dead In Contract Killing.

Princess Michael was said to be ‘very distressed’ last night after a Russian tycoon romantically linked to her was shot dead in a contract murder.
Mikhail Kravchenko, 46 – who had been pictured holding hands with the princess, 67, during a holiday in Venice – was found dead in an upmarket neighbourhood outside Moscow yesterday morning.
The bullet-riddled body of the millionaire, who had remained friendly with the princess, was discovered in a pool of blood beside his Mercedes in the  suburb of Peredelkino.
Uneasy: Prince Michael looks on as Kravchenko casts an admiring glance at the princess at the Moscow conference in 2005
Uneasy: Prince Michael looks on as Kravchenko casts an admiring glance at the princess at the Moscow conference in 2005
The furniture tycoon was said to have been hauled from his car and shot up to ten times.
Police confirmed it was carried out by two ‘professional’ gunmen who knew his whereabouts.
There was also a suggestion that there had been a mystery passenger with Mr Kravchenko in his car who later vanished.

It is not clear whether Mr Kravchenko may have fallen out with government figures before his death.
Police believe his murder could be connected to an attempt to seize his £130million-a-year furniture business, or to debts he ran up during the recession.
An unnamed source also claimed that before his death Mr Kravchenko had ‘branched out into Russia’s real estate and construction markets’, both of which are ‘notoriously corrupt’, as the furniture market slowed down.
The source said: ‘We cannot rule out the common scenario for such shootings – a debt he couldn’t repay or a dispute over ownership of a company or property.
Hand-in-hand: Princess Michael of Kent with Russian millionaire Mikhail Kravchenko in Venice, where they spent four days together. Kravchenko was found dead yesterday
Hand-in-hand: Princess Michael of Kent with Russian millionaire Mikhail Kravchenko in Venice, where they spent four days together. Kravchenko was found dead yesterday
Princess Michael, 67, whose close relationship with the tycoon saw him dubbed her  ‘toyboy’ and was the subject  of intense scrutiny six years ago, was last night said to be  devastated by the news of his murder.
Simon Astaire, spokesman for the Kents, said: ‘Prince and Princess Michael of Kent are very distressed to hear of this tragedy.’
The princess – nicknamed ‘Princess Pushy’ because of her over-confident manner – has always denied having an affair with Mr Kravchenko, 21 years her junior.
But in 2006 the two were pictured holding hands and staring lovingly into each other’s eyes while enjoying a stroll and a gondola ride in Venice.

The princess was also reported to have booked a suite at one of Venice’s most expensive hotels for herself under the assumed name of ‘Mrs Green’.
Princess Michael of Kent with Russian millionaire Mikhail Kravchenko were alleged to have shared a suite at the Cipriani, one of Venice's most glamorous hotels
Princess Michael of Kent with Russian millionaire Mikhail Kravchenko were alleged to have shared a suite at the Cipriani, one of Venice's most glamorous hotels
At the time, Princess Michael’s spokesman Mr Astaire said the pair – who had met at an interior design exhibition the previous year – had simply forged a friendship after Mr Kravchenko confided in her about the death of his wife and daughter in a car crash in 2001.
‘She has been seeking to be supportive,’ Mr Astaire said. ‘It’s not an affair.’
And later, the princess herself spoke out to deny the claims. She told Hello! magazine: ‘The true nature of our relationship is that it is a very good friendship.
‘I hold hands with all my friends. I don’t think that’s being intimate at all. I’m a very tactile person – I do it all the time.’
Later, Mr Kravchenko also denied claims of an affair, saying: ‘We (the princess and I) have just normal human relations. We are friends.’
Last night Moscow was awash with rumours surrounding the death of the tycoon, who was regarded as one of Moscow’s most eligible bachelors.
The pair were pictured enjoying a day out together in a gondola during their stay in Venice. Both denied an affair was taking place
The pair were pictured enjoying a day out together in a gondola during their stay in Venice. Both denied an affair was taking place
Frequent flyer: Prince Michael of Kent In Moscow, where he has links to Russian billionaire Boris Berezovsky
Russian look: The glamorous Princess of Kent attending a charity dinner
Russian look: The Prince in front of Red Square and the glamorous Princess of Kent attending a charity dinner. Both have strong links with Russia
The two royals and the Russian tycoon together. Princess Michael has strongly denied claims of an affair, but said her and Kravchenko are good friends
The two royals and the Russian tycoon together. Princess Michael has strongly denied claims of an affair, but said she and Kravchenko are good friends
Police said he had been driving only yards from a luxury house he built for his parents at around 2am when he was overtaken and the road blocked.
He was then shot five times in the body before being dragged from his car and shot in the head. Some accounts suggested a total of ten shots had been fired. Last night shocked friends insisted he had had no enemies. Unusually for a wealthy Russian businessman, he was often seen without bodyguards and was described by friends as one of the most ‘modest and unassuming’ of Russia’s super-rich.
Friends insisted that his dozen or so businesses in furniture, construction and real estate were all solvent and that despite his vast wealth he had never bothered to hire bodyguards because he had no fears for his safety. One, his aide Marina Sherstyuk, said the news had come ‘like a blow of thunder from a clear sky’.
Miss Sherstyuk said everything had been ‘normal’ when she last saw the businessman on Friday at a furniture exhibition.
Battle: Boris Berezovsky appearing at the High court in London for his dispute with Roman Abramovitch
Battle: Boris Berezovsky appearing at the High court in London for his dispute with Roman Abramovitch
‘There was absolutely no sign of problems, or tension, no cars following him, no threats – nothing at all indicating that his life could have possibly been in danger,’ she said.
‘He would have never even bothered with bodyguards, he felt no need to use them. He felt no threat at all. For us, as for the inner circle of people who worked closely with him, it was an absolute shock to hear.’
Prince Michael was in Russia last week without the princess. He flew to St Petersburg to be awarded with a degree by a Russian university for services to British-Russian relations.
But his trip was overshadowed by revelations that he had accepted £320,000 in secret payments from Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, a leading foe of president Vladimir Putin.
The payments via an offshore company from Mr Berezovsky, who is exiled in London, were disclosed in court documents.
The oligarch’s spokesman said: ‘Mr Berezovsky has known the prince since the early 1990s and has a high regard for the prince’s work. He therefore chose to be supportive over a period which ended some years ago.’



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2147072/Princess-Michaels-Russian-playboy-friend-shot-killed-near-Moscow-brutal-contract-murder.html#ixzz1vUrFd9W5