A former Russian banker is lying in a London hospital in critical condition after he was shot several times in what police are calling an assassination attempt, according to British media.
German Gorbuntsov was attacked as he tried to enter an apartment building on the Isle of Dogs near the Canary Wharf business district on Tuesday evening.
The gunman, according to police, is a slender 6-foot-tall white male, wearing dark clothes, and who quickly fled the scene.
Russia’s Kommersant business newspaper reported that the weapon used in the attack was a submachine gun.
Although the area around the incident is rife with gang activity, police discounted that Gorbuntsov was targeted by local gangsters.
Nonetheless, London’s Metropolitan Police said detectives from its Trident Gang Crime Command are investigating the shooting.
This is sitting with Trident which investigates gang-related shootings. There is no reason it should rest with anyone else, said a police spokesman.
No arrests have been made.
Gorbuntsov, a 45-year-old exile, previously owned banks in Russia and Moldova, according to reports.
The Kommersant paper speculated that the murder attempt may have been linked to a separate murder trial in Moscow of another banker named Alexander Antonov. Gorbuntsov was scheduled to testify in that trial.
The Daily Mail newspaper of the UK reported that Gorbuntsov is wanted in Moldova over allegations of embezzlement and an illegal takeover of a bank.
More than five years ago, a Russian dissident named Alexander Litvinenko (a former KGB agent) was murdered in a London hotel when someone poisoned his tea. That killing -- which has never been prosecuted -- caused a diplomatic crisis between London and Moscow.