Married Russian businessman's mistress is arrested for 'having his OTHER lover shot dead by an assassin'

Psychologist Elena Sosnovskaya appeared in a Moscow court last week along with four men allegedly involved in the murder of dancer Natalia Pronina on December 23.

Pronina, 30, was gunned down at close range by a hooded man wearing a mask in Moscow as she returned home from a choreography session.

Footage from court showed Sosnovskaya as she was ushered into a glass case for a custody hearing at the Cheryomushinsky court in Moscow.

The psychologist, aged around 40, is accused of using her own partner, with whom she was living, to find the contract killer.

Previously, the businessman's wife had been suspected of ordering the murder while a politician reportedly dating Pronina had also been linked to the case at one point.

Pronina, who had won prizes at international dance festivals including in the UK, was shot twice in the chest close to her high-rise apartment block near Akademicheskaya metro station.

The moment was caught on harrowing CCTV footage which showed the killer approaching Pronina from the shadows before shooting her with a pistol at close range.

The attacker reportedly then released a stun grenade to distract attention from the shooting, dropped the gun and fled, according to reports citing law enforcement.

Pronina was rushed to hospital and underwent surgery but died two hours after the attack.

Reports say Pronina had known the unnamed businessman for nine years but that she had recently ended the relationship after meeting a new boyfriend.

Sosnovskaya was said to have been dating the businessman at the same time as Pronina and allegedly asked her live-in boyfriend to recruit an assassin to kill the dancer, Moskovsky Kosomolets reported.

Sosnovskaya's boyfriend is among the four men also detained over the murder, three of whom have been named as: Artak Aivazyan, Khasan Tagirov and Ruslan Tagirov.

The businessman, who owns a car parts chain, had reportedly warned Pronina to be careful and to stop posting on Instagram.

Investigative Committee official Yulia Ivanova said the suspects are being held under Russian laws covering contract killings and the illegal possession of firearms.

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