Intrigue surrounding missing businessman deepens

  • 2008-04-03
  • By Talis Saule Archdeacon
RIGA - In the latest twist to an increasingly bizarre mystery, the mother of a U.S. millionaire businessman who disappeared in Latvia has said that she believes "Kremlin agents" killed her son.
As Elvira Rozhetskin, mother of Leonid Rozhetskin, told the U.K.-based Mail on Sunday, "My son isn't missing. My son is dead, and the reason he is dead is that he spoke out about corruption in the Russian government… My son hated corruption, and that is why he was killed. Robbery was not the motive."
Elvira Rozhetskin didn't mince her words: "This was a professional hit by hired Russian agents."
Rozhetskin, co-owner of a young and promising American movie production company, disappeared from his $2 million seaside home on March 16 under murky circumstances.

Police later found bloodstains in his house and discovered that the extensive security system, involving cameras and electronic trip-wires, had been bypassed.
Elvira Rozhetskin's comments came after a March 26 DNA test that confirmed the bloodstains on the floor of the Jurmala mansion were in fact his.
"There was so much blood 's too much blood for my son to have survived," the businessman's mother said.
Police representatives would not reveal how much blood had been found.
Police also said that the bloodstains were smeared in an apparent attempt to cover up the evidence. A sofa was reportedly moved to cover up the stains as well.

Latvian authorities have asked Interpol for their help in conducting an international manhunt for the business tycoon. Police have classified the case as a murder in order to devote more resources to the investigation.
"Until the body is found, nothing can be said for sure. However, even now we have some evidence that speaks in favor of a murder," Interior Minister Mareks Seglins has said.
Seglins later said, however, that it is still possible Rozhetskin is still alive and has left the country. On March 31, the minister told the television news program "Nothing Personal" that the businessman could have fled the country using a fake passport and an assumed identity.
The businessman's private jet flew to Zurich without any passengers shortly after the incident.
Following Rozhetskin's disappearance, there were rumors in the U.K. media that he had staged his own death as a publicity stunt to draw attention to a new movie that his production company is set to release.
Jurmala police representatives told British media they are still working with three theories, though they declined to mention details.

Rozhetskin was born in 1966 in Leningrad 's now St. Petersburg 's and immigrated to the United States in 1980 after his father was imprisoned by the Soviet Union on what the family claims were trumped-up charges.
He received a law degree from Harvard University and moved back to Russia in 1992, where he became a successful businessman. He initially built his fortune as one of the founding members of Renaissance Capital, an investment bank, and later became the chairman of Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest producer of nickel.
Rozhetskin is also well known as one of the founding members of City AM, a free British newspaper, and as a former major stakeholder in MegaFon, Russia's largest mobile phone operator.
Two years ago Russian prosecutors issued a warrant for his arrest over an alleged $40 million fraud case involving a major Russian telecommunication company.

He is currently working alongside Eric Eisner, the son of former Walt Disney Co. CEO Michael Eisner, as co-owner of the Los Angeles based L+E Productions.
The company is due to release its first movie, a comedy called "Hamlet 2," in August.