A former KGB agent turned sports- and concert-promoter was gunned down today in Moscow, with the submachine gun-toting assailants pulling alongside Shabtai von Kalmanovic’s Mercedes and killing him nearly instantly in a hail of bullets. Kalmanovic, 60, brought stars of the WNBA to Russia during its off-season to play for his Spartak team, winner of the past three European titles.
Investigators tell the Times of London that it appears to be a contract killing, though they as yet have no motive. Kalmanovic served jail time in Israel in the 1980s for spying for the Soviet Union, though a former KGB official tells the Los Angeles Times he doesn’t think Kalmanovic was a full-fledged agent. After returning to Moscow, Kalmanovic went into concert promotions, bringing Michael Jackson, among others, to the country.