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A millionaire MP faces a murder probe after admitted shooting a man after "mistaking him for a brown bear".
Igor Redkin, who is a regional politician in Russia, claims he went on a bear hunt "to save his constituents" from roaming beasts in Ozernovsky village, a remote region in the far east of the country.
The 55-year-old, who is a fish tycoon with a reported £13 million fortune, has been detained in a murder investigation.
He told police the predators had been scavenging a rubbish tip before he blasted one with his hunting rifle and leaving the scene.
But it emerged that married dad-of-one Andrey Tolstopyatov, 30, had been wounded as he collected scrap metal at the dump before later dying.
The shot was fired with an elite £30,000 hunting rifle with special optical sights.
Mr Tolstopyatov had identified the MP – one of the 20 richest state officials in Russia – as he lay fatally wounded after being hit in the abdomen.
The politician said: "I am ready to face the punishment, which will be determined by the court.
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"I heard that a bear, from which local residents might suffer, was wandering in the rubbish dump. I took the weapon and decided to scare the bear away.
“At dusk I shot at the bear. Later, I learned that at about the same time a local resident was wounded in the area of the shooting and died in hospital.”
Mr Redkin has pulled out of upcoming elections and suspended his membership of the United Russia party, which is pro-Vladimir Putin.
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His lawyer Olga Struchenko clarified that the MP had scared away two bears and the fatal incident happened when he “saw a third”.
She said: "He was sure that he was shooting a bear, there were no people in sight.
"It was only later that he found out that a man had been shot."
She admitted that "all the circumstances indicate that it was actually his bullet" that struck Tolstopyatov.
The victim’s wife Lyudmila, 26, said he had been “earning money for the family” collecting scrap metal when he was shot.
“He was the beacon of light for my children,” said the widow.
She heard about Redkin being involved in the shooting from the media and he had not offered his condolences, she said.
- Vladimir Putin
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