Top official arrested for murder

  • 2001-09-27
  • Aleksei Gunter
TALLINN - Forty-eight hours after taking in Gennadi Ever, a member of Tallinn City Council and prominent Estonian businessman, for questioning over the suspected murder of media businessman Vitali Khaitov, the central criminal police has decided that he will remain under arrest at least until Sept. 28.

Police spokesman Indrek Raudjalg said Ever is suspected of planning the murder, which happened in March.

The police also arrested Haron Dikayev, 36, head of a local Muslim cultural organization and a native Chechen, and Dmitry Sidorenko, 31, in connection with the same case. Dikayev has a criminal record and spent one year in jail for possession of illegal weapons in 1996, and stood trial, but was not found guilty, for beating three people to death in 1999.

Ever (Grigoryan until 1993) was born in 1956 in Baku, Azerbaijan, and moved to Estonia in 1983. He owns a shoe store and a restaurant in Tallinn.

The police version suggests that Ever asked Dikayev, who is said to have a top position in the criminal world, to eliminate Khaitov because he wanted to take control of the daily Estoniya.

Within days of Khaitov's death, Ever bought a controlling stake in Estoniya from Khaitov's widow and her daughter-in-law. After two months he fired Estoniya's Editor in Chief Ilya Nikiforov for, Nikiforov complained at the time, holding political views that were different to his own.

Dikayev commissioned his mafia brigade leader Sidorenko with the case. Sidorenko offered the deal to Antanas Kazlauskis, 33, a Lithuanian citizen living in Estonia, who hired an old acquaintance, Silvinas Gudonis, 33, who lived in Moscow, for $3,000.

The police arrested the two Lithuanians in July.

Khaitov, 56, was shot in the head twice as he was parking his Nissan Patrol at his house in a Tallinn suburb on March 10. He was the general director of the Vesti publishing house, which issues Estoniya, the largest Russian-language daily in the country, and Vesti Nedelya Plus, the leading weekly for the local Russian audience.

His only son Marian Khaitov was killed on April 3, 2000, a case the police have not yet solved.

"The arrest of Ever and Dikayev means we clearly realized after a month's investigation that the two were connected with Vitali Khaitov's murder," said Andres Anvelt, deputy head of the central criminal police department.

Though he would not elaborate, he added, "It's obvious we have something against the people arrested. We would never bluff."

Now it is up to the prosecutor's office and the courts to decide if the evidence is hefty enough for prosecution.