MOSCOW, December 20./TASS/. The head of the Russian Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin, chaired a session in Siberia’s Irkutsk with a team investigating numerous deaths from a bath lotion containing methanol.
According to committee’s spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko, "55 people have died and 40 affected persons are in hospital as of the present moment" after drinking the bath lotion called Boyaryshnik .
"According to investigation, 95 reports have come to law enforcement agencies of Irkutsk between December 16 and 20, about citizens poisoned with methanol and about dead bodies found," she said. "All poisoning incidents came as a result of consumption of alcohol-containing cosmetic product for taking baths called Boyaryshnik, in which methanol was found," she said.
Nine people who were selling the bath lotion have been detained in Siberia’s Irkutsk, Petrenko has told Tass.
"These are individual entrepreneurs and their employees, engaged in small-scale wholesale and retail sale of the above liquid" at local marketplaces, she said, adding that pre-trial restrictions were considered.
Petrenko said that according to the detained persons, eyewitnesses and those affected, the bath lotion had been on sale since long. "The lotion came to sales points without any documents and was sold under the counter for drinking as an alcoholic drink," Petrenko said.
More than 1,500 commercial enterprises have been checked, and more than 6,500 liters of different alcohol-containing products have been seized during the checks. Investigative action is conducted in St. Petersburg and in North Ossetia at firms mentioned on labels as producers of Boyaryshnik.
A ban on sales of all nonfood alcohol-containing products has been imposed in Irkutsk and in the region. The ban will stay in place as long as checks continue at local stores as to whether they have on sale the lethal bath lotion called Boyaryshnik (Hawthorn) and similar products.