Mikhail Pakhomov, 36, had been missing since he was abducted on Feb 12 in Lipetsk, 230 miles south of Moscow, where he was a prominent pro-Kremlin member of the city council.
His body was discovered by police in a metal barrel full of fresh cement in a garage. Police said on Monday that they had detained eight people suspected of involvement in his death, including the person who allegedly ordered the abduction.
An unnamed law enforcement source told Russian media Mr Pakhomov's body displayed signs of beating or torture before death. Video footage showed his wrapped-up corpse being removed from the garage on a stretcher, with the barrel, cut in half, standing in the background. Mr Kharitonov was arrested on board an aeroplane at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport. He was charged with armed kidnapping.
Police said other members of the gang were charged with abduction and with stealing £8,500 of the victim's property in Lipetsk after he was snatched. A senior regional detective said he believed the crime was linked to debts the politician owed to Mr Kharitonov. It appeared the alleged perpetrators had bungled the crime and attempts to cover it up at several key moments. Witnesses saw three men pushing another into a car in Lipetsk last week.
The victim's jeans, a shoe and his mobile phone were left at the scene, allowing police to identify him as Mr Pakhomov. A day later, some of the politician's belongings were found in a Hyundai car when it was stopped for speeding. The driver and passenger were arrested and their evidence led to the body being located. Mr Pakhomov, a married father-of-two, was known as a successful businessman and an up-and-coming young politician in Lipetsk.
He was a member of United Russia, the party which supports President Vladimir Putin, and the former general director of a regional freight company. Contract killings and abductions are not uncommon in Russia's business world, although they are associated more with the turbulent 1990s.