WHO KILLED AMERICAN JOURNALIST PAUL KLEBNIKOV OUTSIDE HIS FORBES MAGAZINE OFFICE IN MOSCOW?
"48 HOURS MYSTERY" SATURDAY, APRIL 30
American journalist Paul Klebnikov was shot nine times on July 9, 2004 in a contract killing as he left Forbes magazine's Moscow headquarters. Klebnikov, as editor-in-chief, wanted to expose the corruption in Russia's new economy, where the rich and powerful often operate beyond the law. As Klebnikov searched for the truth, did the secrets he uncovered cost him his life? Correspondent Susan Spencer reports for 48 HOURS MYSTERY: "The Man Who Knew Too Much" to be broadcast Saturday, April 30 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Klebnikov shocked many Russians when he published a list of the 100 wealthiest Russians -- complete with financial details. Carl Schreck, who covers crime for the Moscow Times, thought the list was "asking for trouble." But would a rich businessman murder simply for being outted as rich? Mark Franchetti, of The Sunday Times (London), says, "�It's almost an invitation to the tax police and to the prosecutor to come and investigate." While Moscow, today, may have more billionaires than any other city in the world, the newly rich generally prefer not to advertise how they've acquired their fortunes.
Klebnikov made many potential enemies, including one notorious businessman he feuded with for years and about whom he wrote a book called Godfather of the Kremlin. In his most recent book, Conversation with a Barbarian, Klebnikov took on a Chechen rebel leader he linked to the "Chechen mafia." Just before he was killed, Klebnikov was probing corruption in Moscow's real estate business and was investigating perhaps the most risky business of all -- the auto industry of Toliatti. It's an industry Klebnikov described as "drenched in blood."
At the time Klebnikov was gunned down, he was looking into the murder of another journalist who had exposed fraud at Toliatti. According to Franchetti, "If it's true that Paul was preparing something big on Toliatti or had received documents, all I can say is that's a very, very dangerous area to be looking into."
Contract killings in Russia are especially difficult to solve -- there are as many as 500 a year in Moscow alone -- but high-ranking U.S. government officials have told Klebnikov's family they will keep pressuring the Kremlin. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is scheduled to meet with members of the Klebnikov family next week. They are hoping that solving the murder will go a long way toward promoting Klebnikov's goal of a vigorous free press in Russia. Klebnikov had left his wife and three children home in New York City to take the position with Forbes.
48 HOURS MYSTERY: "The Man Who Knew Too Much" is produced by Allen Alter and Paul LaRosa. Peter Schweitzer is the senior producer and Susan Zirinsky is the executive producer.