25 May 2018 11:03

Head of Russian emergencies ministry's Kemerovo region branch detained for embezzlement, negligence

MOSCOW/KEMEROVO. May 25 (Interfax) - Director of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry's Kemerovo region branch Alexander Mamontov and his subordinate are suspected of negligence and embezzlement as part of an inquiry into the March 25 deadly fire at Kemerovo's Zimnyaya Vishnya shopping center, Russian Investigative Committee spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko told Interfax on Friday.

"A criminal case has been opened against Director of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry's Kemerovo region branch Alexander Mamontov, head of the Kemerovo region branch's oversight department Grigory Terentyev and other persons who are suspected of negligence and embezzlement," Petrenko said.

According to investigators, Mamontov and Terentyev did not schedule any inspections and did not check the Zimnyaya Vishnya mall's compliance with fire safety requirements starting from 2017.

"Furthermore, it has been established during the probe that Mamontov and other as yet unidentified persons were involved in embezzling around two million rubles from the budget of the Emergency Situations Ministry's regional branch," she said.

Mamontov and Terentyev have already been detained, she said.

"Investigators intend to file charges against them in the near future and will also ask a court to remand them into custody as a restraining measure," Petrenko said.

The fire broke out at the Zimnyaya Vishnya shopping and entertainment center on March 25. It started on the top floor, where movie halls were located and where there were many children at the time. The official death toll is 60 people, including 41 children.

Searches were conducted at the Emergency Situations Ministry's local branch and in the houses of its director and the heads of its structural divisions in mid-April.

It was reported on April 4, citing an informed source, that security services had searched Mamontov's house as part of the Zimnyaya Vishnya fire probe.

According to media reports, Mamontov himself denied that his house had been searched.

Mamontov has a total of eight real estate assets inherited from his father, a businessman.