MOSCOW, November 7 (RAPSI) – Attorney Murad Musayev, who represents the accused in the high-profile murder cases of journalist Anna Politkovskaya  and retired Colonel Yuri Budanov, is under criminal investigation and two cases have been opened against him, official spokesman for the Investigative Committee Vladimir Markin said on Thursday.

Investigators allege that Musayev bribed two witnesses in January of this year while preparing his defense of Yusup Temerkhanov, who was subsequently convicted of the murder of Colonel Budanov and sentenced to 15 years in prison. The bribes were allegedly intended to convince the witnesses to give false testimonies at trial.
Criminal cases on charges of bribing a witness and obstructing justice were initiated against the attorney.

The Investigative Committee also reports that between 2012 and 2013, Musayev tried to coerce the jury to acquit Temerkhanov, and attempted to persuade them to quit the jury panel.

Colonel Yuri Budanov was convicted of war crimes in Chechnya in July 2003. A military court found him guilty of abuse of power in connection with the kidnapping and the murder of 18-year-old Chechen Elza Kungayeva. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and deprived of his rank, his medals and the chance to hold official positions for three years after his release.

In January 2009, he was released on parole. In June 2011, Budanov was shot dead as he walked out of a notary office in Moscow. According to investigators, Temerkhanov shot Budanov eight times.

They believe that Temerkhanov planned the murder after his father was killed in Chechnya in 2000. They suspect that he picked Budanov as his victim because the colonel had been tried for kidnapping and killing Kungayeva in 2000.