Nine people were murdered in a mini-crime wave Tuesday in the central Russian city of Togliatti, the home of the AvtoVaz (Lada) car factory, and well known for its soaring crime rate, the daily Kommersant reported Wednesday.
Three men from Tyumen, in western Siberia, who had come to the Volga city to buy cars and car parts, were found dead in their hotel room early Tuesday with a bullet wounds to the head, the newspaper cited local police as saying.
Two other men from Karaganda, in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan, who had also arrived in Togliatti with a large sum of money for purchasing cars, were found dead in a nearby room.
Meanwhile, two women and a man were killed by armed criminals who broke into their apartment elsewhere in the city.
Finally, as night fell, an out-of-town businessman, who had also come to Togliatti to buy a car, was murdered by unknown assailants in a forest close to the AvtoVaz factory.
AvtoVaz, the largest Russian automaker, manufactures each year 700,000 Zhiguli cars known as Ladas in Europe. It has attracted the attention of several criminal organizations in the past.
One of the firm's commercial directors was murdered last month in the city bearing the name of Italian Communist leader Palmiro Togliatti, who was exiled in the Soviet Union during the years of Fascist government in his native country -- MOSCOW (AFP)
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