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Police considering opening 3rd criminal case over Angara spill

May 03, 2012, 18:00 UTC+3

The dumping of fuel into the river through the Usolyekhimprom sewer was stopped at the insistence of the Irkutsk authorities only by 09:00 a.m. on April 27

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IRKUTSK, May 3 (Itar-Tass) — The police are considering the possibility of opening of a third criminal case over the Angara River fuel spill - over negligence. The police believe that the management of the Rosrezerv Baikal Combine federal state institution should also bear responsibility for the emergency that occurred a week ago. An illegal tapping into the enterprise’s local oil pipeline resulted in a spill of petroleum products into the Angara River.

The press service of the regional government told Itar-Tass that after a meeting of the regional emergencies commission, “the police are currently considered the possibility of opening a criminal case – already a third over the incident – under Article 293 of the RF Criminal Code (Negligence) against the leadership of the Rosrezerv Baikal Combine. Earlier, criminal cases were opened in the region under Article 158, part 3 (Theft from a pipeline) and Article 250 of the RF Criminal Code (Pollution of drinking water sources).

Head of the main police department for the Irkutsk Region Alexander Obukhov said at the emergencies commission meeting that the law enforcement agencies intend to combine all three cases into one and submit them to the investigating authorities.

“The police have identified a group of nine suspects, but much more persons, in fact, were involved in this crime, and the further investigative actions should show this,” the press service quoted Obukhov. Earlier it was reported that six residents of Usolye-Sibirskoye are among the suspects, three of them have been arrested and are giving testimony.

Representative of the Prosecutor’s Office said for their part at the emergencies commission meeting that not only the company in the territory of which there was the illegal pipeline tapping, but also the owner of Usolyekhimprom company’s storm sewer (diesel through it leaked into the river) will be held criminally liable for this incident. Claims to legal entities will be filed after the damages are calculated, the Prosecutor’s Office promised to prepare the documents in the short run.

The press service also said that the volumes of diesel fuel that was spilled into the Angara River as a result of the incident were intentionally not voiced at the meeting. Earlier, governor of the Irkutsk Region Dmitry Mezentsev said that at least about 300 tonnes of fuel were spilled. “The leadership of Rosrezerv (Federal Agency for State Reserves) has also not specified the volume of diesel fuel losses due to the illegal tapping, although experts say that it is possible to make such a calculation,” the regional government informed.

On Thursday, an official of the regional government told Itar-Tass, referring to vice governor Sergei Serebrennikov that the diesel fuel was flowing into the Angara River for about two days. He explained that the dumping of fuel into the river through the Usolyekhimprom sewer was stopped at the insistence of the Irkutsk authorities only by 09:00 a.m. on April 27. And the illegal pipeline tapping was discovered at about 11:00 a.m. on April 25.

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