Spartak Moscow owner Shabtai Kalmanovitch assassinated

image Shabtai Kalmanovitch, owner of the highly successful Spartak Moscow women’s basketball team, was shot and killed in Moscow according to reports coming out of Russia and Israel.

Kalmanovitch, known as a high-roller who spent tons on money on his basketball club, giving players high salaries and luxurious perks, was an Israeli immigrant from the former Soviet Union and a former KGB spy. He was caught and sentenced to seven years in prison. He only served five and relocated to Sierra Leone, making a lucrative living in the diamonds trade according to the Associated Press.

Kalmanovitch was attacked by assailants armed with semi-automatic guns while driving in his Mercedes in the Russian capital according to the Interfax news agency. He was shot at least 20 times.

It is possible that his murder was connected to basketball reported Anatoly Bagmet, the head of the Investigative Committee’s Moscow branch, told Russian news agency RIA:

“We are looking into different leads, among them the possibility that the murder was connected with Kalmanovich’s activities as the owner of the basketball team Spartak Moscow,”

The current Spartak squad includes several WNBA players: Janel McCarville (New York Liberty), Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky), Aneta Jekabsone-Zogota, (Connecticut Sun) Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), Edwige Lawson-Wade (San Antonio Silver Stars) and Kelly Miller (Minnesota Lynx). Seattle Storm players Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson are also on the squad but have not yet joined the team. The coach of Spartak is  Pokey Chatman, the former head coach of Louisiana State University.

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