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Criminal probe into Yak-40 plane crash launched
Story Filed: Thursday, March 09, 2000 8:57 AM EST
MOSCOW, March 9 (Itar-Tass) - Transport prosecutors have instituted criminal proceedings against the fact of crash of the Yak-40 plane at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport early on Thursday, in which nine people died. The criminal proceedings were instituted under Article 263, Part III of Russia's Criminal Code (violation of traffic regulations and operation of railroad, air or water transport), the public relations department of the Prosecutor General's Office told Itar-Tass.
Ziya Bazhayev, head of the holding Gruppa Alyans (Group Alliance) was among the nine people who died in the crash, officers at the Sheremetyevo airport's line transport police department told Tass. Bazhayev, a prominent businessman, was born in the district center of Achkhoi-Martan in the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Republic in 1960.
A graduate of the Krasnodar Polytechnical Institute and the Russian State Oil and Gas University, he was a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, and held the degree of Candidate of Technical Sciences.
Bazhayev worked at biochemical enterprises in Krasnodar and Grozny. In 1991-1995, he was a manager, and later, a president of the Swiss Oil Trading company LIA OIL. During the first Chechen campaign, he was appointed the president of Southern Oil Company in Grozny, but quit the job due to disagreements with Doku Zavgayev's administration.
In 1996, he was appointed the vice-president in charge of commercial issues at the oil company SIDANCO. He subsequently became the first vice-president and, from 1997, the president of SIDANCO.
In 1998, Bazhayev set up and headed the holding Group Alliance, which specializes in developing and implementing anti- crisis management programs and provides consultations on finance, management and legal issues.
Among the company shareholders are 15 regional state property funds, the Izhevsk mechanical engineering plant and a Kirov-based company.
Bazhayev's relatives said he had used to go on business trips by plane approximately twice a week. Earlier, he miraculously avoided two plane crashes, they said.
The Yak-40 plane crashed at 8:40 am during the take-off on Thursday. It caught fire which was extinguished an hour later, the press service of the line transport police department at the Sheremetyevo airport reported.
It identified the crash victims as: -- Z.Yu.Bazhayev, chief of the financial-and-industrial group Alliance, and his two aides: N.A.Testov and A.V.Khichkar;
-- A.G.Borovik, a well-known Russian journalist and head of the Sovershenno Sekretno (Top Secret) publishing holding;
-- crew commander S.A. Yakushin; -- crew members: E.A.Maguyev, V.G.Navoletsky, E.A.Yakovleva and S.G.Koryakina.
The death of Artyom Borovik was confirmed by a representative of the holding's office in Moscow. A woman worker of the holding told Tass that Borovik was going to Kiev on a business trip.
Russia's Union of Journalists has conveyed condolences to Borovik's family. "An outstanding, daring and talented person, he was among the beginners of new Russian journalism; his name is linked perhaps with its most impressive successes and achievements," the Union of Journalists said.
Mass Media Minister Mikhail Lesin said the death of Borovik was "undoubtedly a serious tragedy and heavy loss for the whole Russian journalist community."
"He was a well-known and outstanding journalist," Lesin said. "We began together with Artyom far back in the 80s, so the incident is a personal tragedy for me," the minister said.
Meanwhile, police said the flight recorders had been found and sent for deciphering. So far, investigators are studying "technical aspects of the tragedy," but foul play is not excluded, airport security officers said.
A government commission will investigate the crash, Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Thursday. "I don't think one can talk about an act of terror in this case," Shoigu said.
-- Carl Jenkins (Somewherepress@aol.com), March 09, 2000