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Key defendant in Perm nightclub fire case rushed to hospital from courtroom

April 18, 2012, 14:22 UTC+3

Anatoly Zak was hospitalized with diverticulitis

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PERM, April 18 (Itar-Tass) — The key defendant in the case over the fire at the Khromaya Loshad /Lame Horse/ nightclub in Perm in 2009, in which more than 150 people died, has been rushed to hospital from a court room, his lawyer told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.

"Anatoly Zak has felt very ill in the past few days, and today he seemed unable to bear pain any more, and we called an ambulance. He was hospitalized with diverticulitis," lawyer Pavel Yakovlev said.

In early April, Anatoly Zak was examined by a medical commission which certified him as a disabled person.

Zak's disability has not influenced the trial so far, but his circumstance might play a role in passing the verdict for the club owner, if he is found guilty.

Overnight from December 5 to December 6, 156 people died in the fire that broke out at the nightclub, and another 64 were seriously injured. Nine victims suffered medium gravity harm to health, and another seven suffered light harm to health.

The defendants are: Anatoly Zak, a de-facto co-owner of the nightclub, unofficial executive director Svetlana Yefremova and art director Oleg Fetkulov, father and son Igor and Sergei Derbenev, who arranged fireworks, and former head of the State Fire Safety Inspectorate for the Perm Territory Vladimir Mukhutdinov.

In September 2010, Konstantin Mrykhin, another nightclub co-owner, was detained in Spain. The issue of his extradition to Russia was settled on June 16, after Spain had denied political asylum to him.

The investigation into the criminal case against Mrykhin has been recently completed. On Wednesday a court is to decide if he case would be reviewed under special procedure, as Mrykhin fully admitted his guilt.

The authorities recognized 404 people to be the victims within the criminal case, Investigation Committee /SK/ spokesman Vladimir Markin said earlier.

According to the SK, the fire broke out during the show with the so-called "cold fireworks." At first, foam plastic that lined the ceiling caught fire. The investigators also blamed the improper performance of duties by fire inspectorate personnel, who had failed to expose various violations of the fire safety regulations at the cafe.

The case materials comprise 120 volumes. In the course of the probe, the court arrested Zak's assets and property. Zak, who is the founder or co-founder of 28 commercial firms, owns 18 real estate facilities.

Zak missed a number of hearings because of health problems, such as high blood pressure.


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