RIGA - A prominent Latvian businesswoman was shot dead outside her home on the morning of Jan. 7, a National Police spokesman said.
Ella Ivanova was killed with four shots to her body and one to her head. A sixth shot hit a nearby motor vehicle. The attack occurred as she left her car to open the gates to her home in Garkalne, about 30 kilometers outside Riga. The one other person in the car at the time of the attack was unharmed.
One suspect has been detained in the high-profile murder. The man was arrested approximately 7 kilometers from the scene of the crime, police said.
Police were able to track him based on eyewitness reports and footprints in the snow.
"There are grounds to believe that the murder will be solved. A suspect in the case has been detained. The police are working with the person and material evidence," Interior Minister Mareks Seglins was quoted by the Baltic News Service as saying.
"I believe it was a contract killing," he said.
More than 10 policemen along with members of the special operations unit Alfa were involved in the arrest. Police said the suspect is a Roman who previously spent nine years in prison.
Police have also opened an investigation into the business dealings of Ivanova's husband, Igors Ivanovs, whose name has been connected with contract killings in the past.
Ivanovs was evasive in brief comments to the Latvian language business daily Dienas Bizness, saying only that he planned to return to Riga from Moscow on Jan. 8.
According to a Baltic Screen survey published in Pastaiga, Ivanova and her husband are considered to be the 30th richest "person" in Latvia. The survey organizers evaluated their property at 23 million lats (32.73 million euros).
Prior to last July Ivanova owned a 15 percent stake in Arena Riga. Her husband still owns a 35 percent stake.
The survey said they made their money in the real estate business and oil trade.
Igors Ivanovs' illustrious business career has been surrounded by death. Three co-owners of the Europe Center shopping mall (now Mols) were killed in 1996. One police official, speaking anonymously to the Russian language Bizness & Baltija paper, said that the murder could be a revenge hit directed against Ivanovs.