25 Mar 2019 18:08

Russia asks Poland to extradite Zimnyaya Vishnya mall owner

MOSCOW. March 25 (Interfax) - The Russian Prosecutor General's Office has requested that Poland extradite Vyacheslav Vishnevsky, former general director of the company which owned the Zimnyaya Vishnya shopping mall, the Kemerovo Confectionary Factory, the agency press service told Interfax on Monday.

"The Russian Prosecutor General's Office has filed with the Polish Justice Ministry a request for extraditing the former head of the Kemerovo Confectionary Factory, which built the Zimnyaya Vishnya shopping mall on its premises. He will be indicted on counts of bribing an official," the press service said.

The fire at Zimnyaya Vishnya in Kemerovo happened on March 25, 2018. It killed 60 people, including 37 children. The fire started on the mall's upper floor, which contained a movie theater full of children.

Russian Investigative Committee spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko said on Monday that Vishnevsky had been detained in Poland.

"His whereabouts have been established: Vishnevsky is detained in Poland. His extradition is under consideration," Petrenko told Interfax.

Vishnevsky has been charged with giving a large bribe (Part 5, Article 291 of the Russian Criminal Code).

According to the investigators, Vishnevsky left Russia in 2016. A court later ordered his arrest in absentia.

In 2013-2014, Vishnevsky gave a bribe of 7 million rubles to the head of the Kemerovo regional branch of the State Construction Inspectorate, Tanzilia Komkova, her son Eduard Komkov, and ISK Resurs General Director Nikita Cherednichenko via Viktor Yefimkin. The three persons "acted as an organized group." The investigators said that the bribe was paid for their inactivity during renovations of Zimnyaya Vishnya, to Vishnevsky's benefit.

"Investigators uncovered numerous violations in the construction of this building and the neglect of fire safety rules by the owner and certain employees. It is clear that employees of the State Construction Directorate overlooked numerous problems during checks and issuance of documents, which confirmed that the renovated building complied with building regulations," Petrenko said.

Fifteen persons were charged within the framework of three criminal proceedings following the fire at Zimnyaya Vishnya. The investigation has been finished in two cases, and the third inquiry is coming to an end, Petrenko said.

The proceeding has over 450 aggrieved parties, including 83 members of victims' families. Investigators are helping them prepare to file for compensation of moral damage.