Shabtai Kalmanovitch, an Israeli immigrant from the former Soviet Union who served time in prison for spying for the KGB, was shot and killed while driving in downtown Moscow, news agencies reported on Monday.
According to the Interfax news agency, Kalmanovitch was shot while driving in his Mercedes in the Russian capital.
The report said Kalmanovitch was shot by assailants armed with semi-automatic weapons who drove by in a passing vehicle.
|Kalmanovitch’s driver, Fyotor Tomnov, and another associate who was with them were also wounded in the attack, according to reports. The driver is currently hospitalized in serious condition.
The shooting is believed to be connected to a business dispute, according to reports.
Kalmanovitch is a businessman and a former agent for the Russian secret services who has been implicated in criminal activities in the past.
As a youth, he immigrated to Israel in 1972. One of his assignments as an agent was to ascertain information about Nativ, a Zionist immigration and liaison agency which was active in the former Soviet Union.
Moscow had always viewed Nativ as a front for espionage activity that fomented unrest and dissent against the Soviet regime.
Kalmanovitch tried unsuccessfully to land a position with the prime minister’s bureau during Golda Meir’s tenure in office. Afterwards, though, he was hired to work for former MK Samuel Flatto-Sharon.
Kalmanovitch also gained access to former finance minister Yigal Hurvitz during the latter’s tenure as a member of Knesset.
Flatto-Sharon and Kalmanovitch were linked with Wolfgang Vogel, an East German lawyer and a well-known associate of officials in the Stasi. Vogel was considered an expert in negotiations which brokered swaps for prisoners of wars.
Vogel was involved in the negotiated release of an Israeli, Miron Marcus, who was taken prisoner by rebels in Mozambique after his plane was forced to land in the African country.