Moldova: head of tennis federation was murdered

June 8, 2011 - 10:29 AM

CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — Moldova's prime minister said Wednesday that the chairman of the country's tennis federation was the intended target of a car explosion that killed him.

Igor Turcan died Tuesday when a parked vehicle exploded as he walked out of the tennis federation headquarters in Chisinau, Moldova's capital. The 38-year-old, who was married with two children, was the only casualty in the blast, which also damaged two other cars parked nearby.

Premier Vlad Filat said it was an attack, not an accident, aimed at killing Turcan. "I hope that authorities will do their duty and we will soon find out the details, motives and who committed this odious crime," Filat said in a statement.

The Lada car had Russian license plates, prompting Filat's government to ask for Moscow's help in identifying the owner of the vehicle. A minority of people living in Moldova are Russian.

Moldovan Interior Minister Alexei Roibu said police have arrested several suspects, but he declined to identify them. Authorities assume explosives were hidden in the vehicle, but they are still examining the wreckage.

Moldova's Chief Prosecutor Valeriu Zubco said without elaborating that officials also are investigating whether the slaying was connected to Turcan's debts. Turcan had business interests in Moldova's construction sector.

The tennis federation is funded by the government and by private sponsors in Moldova, a poor Eastern European nation that proclaimed its independence in August 1991 in the wake of the break up of the Soviet Union.