The Man Who Knew Too Much

<B><I>48 Hours Mystery</B></I> Reports On Murder Of U.S. Journalist In Moscow

This story originally aired on April 30, 2005.

On a July night two years ago, Paul Klebnikov, 41, sat alone in the Moscow office of Forbes magazine. He picked up the phone, and called three of the people he was closest to -- his brother, his sister and his wife.

"He was very happy, he was very exhilarated, and he said he'd never worked harder in his life," says his sister Anna.

"It was a very normal conversation," recalls his wife, Musa. "It seemed very calm."

"He was in a wonderful mood," adds his brother Peter, who says it was only the second time Klebnikov had called since he moved to Russia. "But on the other hand, it was so strange that he called me. I've heard stories of people before they die, [who] suddenly call their loved ones. And maybe this was such a case."

His brothers, Peter and Michael, firmly believe that Klebnikov was killed simply because of his work as an investigative journalist. And that Klebnikov, who was given information about corruption among Russia's rich and powerful, had become a man who knew too much. Correspondent Susan Spencer reports.

"He was becoming a safe harbor for information," says Michael Klebnikov.

"People started giving him information - all types of people, from military generals to cops on the street," says Peter Klebnikov, who believes his brother died at the peak of his life.

The murder of a journalist is hardly unheard of in Russia. Roughly a dozen have been killed since President Vladimir Putin took office. But Paul Klebnikov was the first American journalist to be killed - and he was an American who considered himself a son of Russia.

Descended from Russian aristocrats, Klebnikov and his brothers and sister grew up in New York City, but they never lost their Russian roots.

Klebnikov was the youngest in the family, but he more than held his own. "He had a tremendous spirit of discovery," says his brother, Peter.