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Former government official arrested after Russian lawmaker's body found in barrel

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By The Associated Press
Monday, Feb. 18, 2013, 9:18 p.m.

MOSCOW — The body of a Russian lawmaker was found cemented in a barrel, and a former government official has been accused of ordering the killing over an $80 million debt, officials said on Monday.

Mikhail Pakhomov, 37, went missing last week. He was a member of the local legislature in Lipetsk, a city about 215 miles south of Moscow. He was last seen last Tuesday when three unidentified men pushed him into a car outside a restaurant in Lipetsk and drove away.

Russia's Investigative Committee says that several suspects were detained and that authorities found Pakhomov's badly beaten body in a barrel of cement in a garage.

Russian television stations aired footage provided by police that showed a fragment of a barrel, pieces of concrete and officers carrying what appeared to be Pakhomov's body on a stretcher and loading it into a vehicle.

The Investigative Committee said Yevgeny Kharitonov is being held on suspicion of ordering the killing. Kharitonov is a former deputy minister for communal services in the Moscow region's provincial government.

The committee's spokesman said one of the detained suspects told investigators that Kharitonov had told them that he had to recover the debt to advance his career.

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