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Moldova extends custody for Russian reporter murder suspect

CHISINAU, January 13 (RIA Novosti) - A Chisinau court has prolonged custody for a Moldovan national, suspected of killing Russian NTV channel reporter Ilya Zimin, by another three months, a court official said Saturday.

Investigators said Igor Velchev met Zimin in Moscow February 25 and spent time with him at a Moscow night club until about two in the morning. They left the club together and went to Zimin's apartment, where an argument is said to have broken out before Velchev allegedly beat the reporter to death.

Moldova's interior minister said previously Velchev would be extradited to Russia when the necessary procedures were completed.

The Moscow City Prosecutor's Office sent Moldova's Prosecutor General's Office an arrest warrant for Velchev last June.

Zimin was found dead by colleagues in his Moscow apartment on February 27, 2006. An autopsy revealed he had died of head injuries and police said the door to the apartment had not been forced open.

Last March, NTV said it would pay 1 million rubles (about $36,000) for information leading to the arrest of the suspect in the killing.

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