Khangoshvili Murder: Independent Investigation Identifies Suspected Accomplice

A joint independent investigation by Bellingcat, The Insider, and Der Spiegel, published on August 29, identified the second person of interest in the murder case of Georgian national Zelimkhan Khangoshvili in Berlin’s Kleiner Tiergarten Park in 2019.

Known under the alias “Roman Davydov,” an alleged accomplice to the murder as per German indictment documents, is Roman Demyanchenko, former Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officer and current operative of Vympel Group, an FSB-affiliated private security agency, according to the investigative report.

Demyanchenko’s personality came to attention due to his use of a sequential passport number and identical employer in the visa application, like that of suspected assassin Vadim Krasikov. Demyanchenko has been previously also known under the identity of “Roman Nikolaev”.

A decorated FSB officer, Demyanchenko must have served in the FSB’s Department V (Vympel) until his early retirement at 31 in 2011, the investigation suggested.

According to the report, the latest findings corroborate previous conclusions that the Khangoshvili’s assassination “was organized by the Vympel group of companies (and the affiliated Regional Association of Former FSB Spetsnaz veterans), in coordination and at the instructions of FSB.”

The report then logically concluded that the Vympel group “is a de facto arm of the FSB earmarked, at least partly, for deniable overseas assassinations or other unlawful interventions.”

Khangoshvili (also known as Tornike Kavtarashvili), 40, was gunned down in Berlin on August 23, 2019. A Georgian of Chechen descent, he fled to Germany after surviving an assassination attempt in Tbilisi in 2015.

On June 18, German Chief Prosecutor indicted Russian citizen Vadim Krasikov on charges of murdering Khangoshvili on “Russian central authorities’ orders.”

The killing has also led to diplomatic tensions of the EU countries with Russia.

In December 2019, Germany expelled two employees of the Russian Embassy in Berlin, blaming them for failure to cooperate with the inquiry.

Earlier in August, media reports claimed that Slovakia expelled three Russian diplomats allegedly in connection with the murder. The move came as the investigation revealed that Demyanchenko traveled from Russia to the EU in the eve of the assassination with a visa obtained from the Slovak General Consulate in St. Petersburg.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied all allegations of its links with the murder.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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