Russian court detains high-ranking official over mall blaze in Kemerovo
MOSCOW, May 28 (RAPSI) – The Central Court of Kemerovo has detained head of the Ministry of Emergencies’ directorate for Kemerovo Grigory Terentyev as part of investigation into a criminal case over tragic fire in Zimnyaya Vishnya (Winter Cherry) shopping mall that left 60 people dead, the press-service of the Investigative Committee has reported.
The official will stay in detention until late July. Terentyev and head of the Ministry of Emergencies’ department for Kemerovo Region Alexander Mamontov, depending on their alleged actions, are charged with criminal negligence and embezzlement.
Investigators allege that Mamontov and Terentyev have not organized the mall’s safety examination since 2017 despite knowing that one should have been completed before March 18. In addition, Mamontov used his position to embezzle 1.8 million rubles ($29,200) from the Ministry and used it for benefit of other persons.
Earlier, interim governor of Russia’s Kemerovo Region Sergey Tsivilev appointed Lyudmila Masleyeva as the ombudsman for rights of victims in the fire.
The blaze in the mall occurred on March 25. According to investigators, 60 people including dozens of children were killed by fire. Initially it was reported that 64 people died.
A criminal case has been launched over involuntary manslaughter, violation of fire safety regulations that left more than two persons dead and provisions of services that don’t meet safety requirements.
Eight other persons were also charged and detained in the case. They are: Yulia Bogdanova, CEO of the Kemerovsky Confectionary Combine, a company owning the mall, Tanziliya Komkova, chief of the region’s State Construction Inspection, a formal head of the mall’s owner company Georgy Sobolev; the mall’s manager Nadezhda Suddenok; CEO of the company System Integrator that developed the fire safety system Igor Polozinenko; an employee of the company, who personally installed the fire alarm Alexander Nikitin, a guard who allegedly turned off the emergency notification system when he received a fire signal Sergey Antyushin and fire team commander Sergey Genin, who was charged with negligence.