Israeli double agent shot dead in Moscow

by ChessBase
11/5/2009 – Shabtai Kalmanovich, a former Israeli double agent who penetrated Golda Meir's government on behalf of the KGB, has been shot dead in Moscow. An unidentified gunman fired at least 20 shots into his chauffeur-driven Mercedes Benz. Why do we report this? Because Kalmanovich was a patron of women's basketball – and chess. News reports.

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Wiki: Shabtai Kalmanovich

Shabtai Kalmanovich was born in Soviet Lithuania in 1949, emigrated to Israel in 1971 and in 1988 was sentenced to seven years in jail for spying for the KGB. He had been active in the Israeli Labor Party, had worked in the government's press office and as a parliamentary aid in the Knesset. According to his indictment, Kalmanovich had handed over information to the Soviets over a period of 17 years. He was released after five years due to medical problems. Following his release, he made his way to Sierra Leone, where he made a fortune in the diamond trade and worked as a representative for Israel.

After his return to Russia, he promoted concerts for stars such as Michael Jackson, Jose Carreras and Liza Minnelli. Since 1994, Kalmanovich was director general of the large Tishinsky shopping center in Moscow. Kalmanovich was a passionate antique art collector.[citation needed] He also sponsored three basketball clubs, and became general manager of the Russian women's basketball team in 2008.


RIA Novosti: Ex-KGB spy who turned to showbiz, sport slain in downtown Moscow

Unidentified assailants armed with a 9 mm automatic and a pump-action shotgun opened fire on Kalmanovich, 59, the owner of the Russian women's basketball club Spartak-Vidnoye, as he sat in his black Mercedes S500 on Moscow's Krasnopresnenskaya Embankment on Monday. He died instantly. His driver, who initially tried to give chase, was forced to pull over outside the capital's 16th century Novodevichy Convent due to serious injuries. Investigators have said the attack bears all the hallmarks of a contract killing. They have also not ruled out that the murder was linked to Kalmanovich's business activities.

RIA Novosti

Telegraph: Former Israeli double agent shot dead near Putin's office

Kalmanovich, who later became a prominent businessman and allegedly had links with the Russian mafia,... was a figure with a colourful if chequered past. He and his Jewish family immigrated to Israel from Lithuania in 1971. After becoming an Israeli citizen, he joined the Israeli Labour Party, was appointed to a position in the government press office and became a mole for the KGB. He later moved to the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, as an aide, and successfully forged close relations with several leading government figures, including the former prime minister Golda Meir. According to the CIA, Kalmanovich was responsible for passing on to Moscow sensitive American intelligence that Israel had acquired from Jonathan Pollard, an American national now serving life in prison for spying for Israel.

Kalmanovich fled to Africa in the 1980s, becoming the proprietor of the only bus operating in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone – while continuing to spy for the KGB. He was later extradited to Israel, where he served five years in prison before being handed back to the Russians in 1993 as part of an intelligence deal.

In Russia, Kalmanovich reinvented himself as an entrepreneur and man-about-town. Quickly making a multi-million pound fortune, he brought Michael Jackson and Liza Minelli to Moscow to stage massively popular concerts. He also became a patron of women's basketball and took over Spartak Moscow, one of the game's most successful teams. Spartak's female players were housed in a lavish lakeside villa outside Moscow that seemed more Playboy Mansion than training camp.

Russian police said there could be a link between the murder and Kalmanovich's ownership of the Spartak basketball club – which could suggest that the killing was mafia related.

The Telegraph

ChessBase: Spartak wins Russian Women's League – narrowly

10.04.2009 – The chess section of the women's basketball club which Kalmanovich sponsored, Spartak Moscow, won the Russian Women's League in April this year. The team had been been coasting, but suffered a big setback by losing in the final round. Their main rival AVS drew their match, leaving both teams tied for first. But Spartak had 18 board points to AVS's 17 and so took gold. IM Tatiana Kosintseva scored 6.0/7 on board two with an incredible 2750 performance.


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