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Russian billionaire arrested in absentia in connection with Kazan trade center fire

April 14, 2015, 21:48 UTC+3 KAZAN

Alexander Syomin is currently residing in France and can't come to Kazan to face the charges for health reasons, his defense lawyers say they will appeal Syomin's arrest

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© TASS Archive/Yegor Alyeev

KAZAN, Republic of Tatarstan, April 14 /TASS/. Defense lawyers of Russian billionaire Alexey Syomin have promised to appeal the decision of a Kazan court that ruled to arrest Syomin in absentia in connection with the Admiral trade center fire case.

"We are going to appeal in a bid to defend our stance," Alexander Makarov, a lawyer at the "Reznik, Gagarin and Partners" lawyer’s office, said. Genri Reznik who is going to defend Syomin was absent when the ruling was announced at a district court in Kazan.

The court of the Sovietsky district of Kazan, the Republic of Tatarstan, arrested Russian billionaire Alexey Syomin, the head of the board of directors of the "AS Management" property management company, in absentia for his link to the Mach 11 fire at the Admiral trade center in Kazan.

"Syomin should be taken into custody until May 11," the judge ruled. "The period under guard should be calculated since the moment of the defendant’s extradition to Russia," the judge said adding the extradition issue had not yet been raised.

Syomin has been charged with violation of fire safety regulations that led to the death of more than 2 people; power abuse; falsification of documents and also with carrying out works that did not match fire safety requirements. Similar charges have been brought against Robert Khairullin, the director general of the AS Management property management company, who is now under arrest.

Earlier, police arrested 400 real estate items belonging to Syomin.

"Police have arrested the property of the "AS Management" property management company, the owner of the Admiral trade center’s building, including over 400 immovable property items and land allotments in the territory of Russia," Vladimir Markin, a spokesperson for the Russian Investigation Committee, said.

Syomin, who is currently residing in France, cannot come to Kazan to face the charges for health reasons.

"According to investigators, companies owned by Syomin and Khairullin bought the production premises of the former ‘Serp I Molot’ (Hammer & Sickle) plant in Kazan. After a number of procedures, they leased the premises as a trade center. The investigators assume that the facility did not have the necessary engineering communications such as fire-extinguishing systems.

A fire broke out at the Admiral trade center, one of the biggest in Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, on March 11 claiming 17 lives. More than 70 people were injured and another two went missing.

Criminal proceedings have been initiated against 12 people, including Alexei Syomin and Robert Khairullin; the heads of the company that leased the building - Gusein Gakhramanov, Nikolai Kayekin and Gulgusein Nadzhafov; employees of Gosstroinadzor (department of state supervision over construction works) Galia Isayeva and Roman Yudin; two employees of the bailiff service - Zhanna Alparova and Minzilya Safina; as well as three workers who had repaired the trade center’s roof shortly before the fire.

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