27 Feb 2018 10:04

Presidential dept denies involvement of Rossiya special flight unit's plane in attempted cocaine smuggling from Argentina

MOSCOW. Feb 27 (Interfax) - The Russian President's Property Management Department has denied media allegations that a plane of the Rossiya special flight unit might be involved in the 'cocaine scandal'.

"This information is untrue," department spokesperson Yelena Krylova told Interfax.

RBC said earlier referring to photos and a video published by the Argentine National Gendarmerie and featuring the loading of some cargo on an Ilyushin Il-96 plane that an aircraft of the Rossiya special flight unit might be involved in the high-profile drug case.

"The journalists drew their conclusions from incorrect information, a photo which can be easily falsified by means of modern technologies," Krylova said.

The photo "does not show the plane's number," he said.

The Rossiya special flight unit operates under the jurisdiction of the Russian President's Property Management Department providing services to top-ranking officials.

Earlier in February, Argentine media reported that around 400 kilograms of cocaine had been found in suitcases at the Russian embassy's school in Buenos Aires. During a police raid, the cocaine was replaced with flour, the reports said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said later that Russian and Argentine law enforcement agencies had conducted a joint operation to suppress a major cocaine supply route into Europe. The drug was found ready to be shipped a year-and-a-half ago at one of the auxiliary buildings of the Russian embassy in Buenos Aires. The cocaine was said to belong to a member of the embassy's technical staff who had completed his contract by that time.