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Investigators toughen charges against former inspectors in Bulgaria shipwreck case

May 03, 2012, 18:46 UTC+3

The Vakhitovsky district court sanctioned custody of Timergazeyev and Semyonov on August 17, 2011

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KAZAN, May 3 (Itar-Tass) — Kazan's Vakhitovsky district court on Thursday extended custody by two months for former chief state inspector of the Volga department of the Rostransnadzor Federal Service for Supervision of Transport Vladislav Semyonov, a defendant in the Bulgaria shipwreck case, the court's press secretary told Itar-Tass.

The charges against Semyonov and head of the Kazan office of Rostrandnazor Irek Timergazeyev have been changed from Article 293, Part 3 of Russia’s Criminal Code /"negligence that resulted in the death of two or more persons by negligence"/ to Article 285, Part 3 /"misuse of office powers that resulted in grave consequences"/. The latter is a more serious crime, punishable by three to ten years in jail, the press secretary said.

Semyonov's lawyer Albina Milina said at a hearing that her client had admitted his guilt. "Semyonov was an ordinary inspector, who signed the act of pre-license check," she said.

The two-deck diesel-electric ship Bulgaria, built in Czechoslovakia in 1955, sank in a thunderstorm in Kuibyshevskoye water reservoir on July 10, 2011. Of the 201 people on board, 122 died. Seventy-nine survived.

The Vakhitovsky district court sanctioned custody of Timergazeyev and Semyonov on August 17, 2011. The investigators said the Rostransnadzor inspectors confirmed the readiness of the company that had leased Bulgaria, for passenger transportation.

Charges were also brought against head of the sub-lessee company Svetlana Inyakina and senior expert of the Kama branch of the Russian River Registry Yakov Ivashov. They are under arrest until May 10.

Earlier, Kazan's Moscow district court fined captain of the Dunaisky-66 towboat Alexander Yegorov 190,000 roubles, who had sailed past the sinking Bulgaria pleasure boat without rendering assistance.

Yegorov went on trial on February 6; the hearings were initially held at Tatarstan's Kamsko-Ustinsky district court, but then they were moved to Kazan, where witnesses/injured parties live, the court's spokeswoman said.

Yegorov pleaded not guilty, saying there were objective reasons explaining his inability to stop his vessel. The captain conveyed his condolences to the relatives of the fatalities and the victims.

A criminal case over not rendering assistance to vessel in distress was also opened against Arbat bulk carrier captain Yuri Tushin. He was in close proximity to the area of the accident, too.

On December 26, 2011, a court fined the Arbat captain 130,000 roubles.

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