The assassination of Zelimkhan Khangoshvil, a former Chechen insurgent and asylum-seeker from Georgia, in a Berlin park last August was planned and organized by Russia’s FSB security agency, according to an investigation published Monday. Bellingcat and its partners, The Insider and Der Spiegel, reported that planning for the murder was directed by Eduard Bendersky, chairman of the Vympel Charitable Fund for Former FSB Spetsnaz Officers and other senior members of the fund. The issuance of false identity papers was reportedly provided by the FSB, and the assassin’s training took place on the grounds of the agency’s Center of Special Operations. The investigation also uncovered that both the FSB and Russian police knew the true identity of the suspected assassin but lied to the German authorities by denying that Vadim Sokolov was a fake identity.
Bellingcat previously found that the suspect is actually named Vadim Krasikov and that he had been involved in at least two contract killings. Krasikov had previously been wanted for murder by Russia under an Interpol Red Notice Warrant, which was withdrawn in 2015. Russian authorities reportedly attempted to cleanse all public data linked to the killer’s true identity and his immediate family.