Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service, known locally as Radio Ozodi, reported on July 1 that Tajikistan’s authorities have said the man who allegedly opened fire and killed two security personnel at Chisinau International Airport is a Tajik national who is suspected of being in an “organized criminal group” that is believed to have kidnapped the first deputy head of Orienbonk, Shuhrat Ismatulloyev, on June 23. 

Tajikistan’s Prosecutor’s Office alleged on July 1 that the detainee, identified as Rustam Ashourov, was a member of a crime group, which abducted Shuhrat Ismatulloyev a week ago.  

Prosecutors charge that Ashourov, after committing this crime, fled the country to Moldova through Turkiye in order to subsequently hide in the countries of the European Union.

After Ashourov was refused entry to Moldova, he reportedly “grabbed a pistol from one of the law-enforcement officers of the Chisinau airport, shot two, and took several people hostage.”

Security personnel fired back at the man, wounding him before taking him under arrest, according to Radio Ozodi

The Associated Press (AP) cited the head of Moldova’s police, Viorel Cernauteanu, as telling reporters Saturday that “police exchanged fire with the attacker” during the incident, which unfolded at 5:13 p.m. local time.

Asked if Ashourov had connections to Russian mercenary group Wagner, Cernauteanu said there was no evidence that the suspect “has relationships with military or paramilitary structures” and he was not listed in any international search system.

 Azerbaijani news agency Report, citing Tajikistan’s Foreign Ministry, reports that Tajikistan has sent law enforcement officers to Chisinau to interact with Moldovan colleagues and clarify all the circumstances of the incident.  

Recall, Tajikistan’s Interior Ministry said on June 26 that the 49-year-old Ismatulloyev was forced into a black Hyundai Sonata automobile by four unidentified individuals on the evening of June 23 when he left his house on the Zakariyoi Rozi Street in Dushanbe’s Ismoili Somoni district and taken to an unknown location.

The police have determined that the license plate of the car was fake. 

The Interior Ministry announced a US$30,000 reward for information leading to finding the banker.

Radio Ozodi reported on June 26 that Shuhrat Ismatulloyev is the brother of Dilshod Ismatullozoda, the former head of Tajik Air (Tajikistan’s national air carrier), and one of the people close to Hasan Asadullozoda, the head of Orienbank and the brother-in-law of Tajik President Emomali Rahmon (his wife’s brother).  

He has reportedly been the first deputy head of Orienbank for years and according to the people in the know, it was Shuhrat Ismatulloyev who actually handled Orienbank’s affairs.  

Orienbank is one of the oldest banks in Tajikistan, and one of its largest financial institutions.  The bank is currently led by Hasan Asadullozoda.