36-year-old Akbar Akhmedov, one of the suspects in the kidnapping and murder of Orienbank deputy head Shukhrat Ismatulloev, close to the country’s President Imomali Rahmon, died in a pre-trial detention center in Dushanbe. This was reported by the Tajik service of Radio Liberty (Radio Ozodi), citing sources.
According to them, employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs handed over the body of Akbar Akhmedov to his parents on August 30. At the same time, the man’s body was taken to the cemetery in a wooden coffin and buried in it; relatives were forbidden to examine the body and tell others about what happened.
Akhmedov, according to the publication’s interlocutors, was wanted, and in early August law enforcement agencies detained his mother and took him to a pre-trial detention center in order to put pressure on her son. After this, Akhmedov “was forced to return to Dushanbe from Moscow” and “surrender to law enforcement agencies.”
A law enforcement source said that Akbar Akhmedov “was brutally beaten during interrogation and tortured to death.”
Akbar Akhmedov worked as an IT specialist and left behind six children.
The body of the deputy head of Orienbank, Shukhrat Ismatulloev, was found on August 15 in the city of Penjikent; the search for him lasted almost two months.
In early July, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Tajikistan reported the detention of five suspects in the kidnapping and murder of Ismatulloev. According to investigators, the banker was kidnapped by the criminal group of Dilshod Saidmurodov, who developed a plan to kidnap the banker back in March 2022 and for this purpose created an armed organized criminal group of more than 10 people.
Last year, the kidnapping of Ismatulloev did not take place, but a year later, on June 23, Saidmurodov, together with Rustam Ashurov, Shokhrukh Khudzhaev, Akbar Akhmedov and other members of the organized crime group, forcibly put Ismatulloev in a car with tinted windows and took him away in the direction of the village of Shodob-1, located in the rural Council of Chorbog Varzob district, the supervisory authority said.
“These persons, in one of the houses of the said village, tortured Ismatulloev until three o’clock on June 24 using physical force, a stun gun, a hair dryer and other means and subsequently killed him. Then, in order to hide traces of the crime, they threw the body of the murdered man and the car into the Zarafshan River at 130 kilometer of the Dushanbe-Chanak highway,” the Prosecutor General’s Office of Tajikistan said in a statement.
On the same day, according to the department, Saidmurodov and Akhmedov fled to Russia, and Khudzhaev and Ashurov fled to Turkey. Five days later, Ashurov found himself at the Chisinau airport, where he opened fire, killing two officers and wounding a passenger. During his arrest, Ashurov received numerous bullet wounds, from which he later died.
49-year-old Shukhrat Ismatulloev is the brother of Dilshod Ismatullozoda, ex-CEO of Tajik Air. He is one of the close people of Hasan Asadullozoda, chairman of Orienbank and brother-in-law of the country’s President Emomali Rahmon. Ismatulloev held the position of first deputy chairman of Orienbank for many years and, according to informed sources, actually led it.