Russian investigators have detained billionaire Dmitry Kamenshchik, the de facto owner of Moscow's busiest airport. Officials suspect him of introducing lax security which enabled a deadly terror strike in 2011.
Kamenshchik and three of his senior managers face charges over the 2011 suicide blast at Moscow's Domodedovo International Airport, Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for Russia's Investigative Committee, said Thursday.
Russian authorities blame the management for making Domodedovo more vulnerable by changing security measures at the entrances.
"As a result, [the suicide bomber] entered the airport building unchecked in January 2011, and activated an explosive charge hidden under his clothes," Markin said.
Foreign citizens were also hurt in the strike
The blast killed 37 people and wounded 180 in the international arrivals area. Chechen rebels claimed responsibility for the strike.
On Thursday, Domodedovo airport published a statement on its website, calling Kamenshchik's detention "baseless."
The airport "continues work normally," the management said.
"We are relying on the appropriate state authorities to review the current situation in an objective manner," the statement added.
Damage claims incoming
At a Moscow press conference earlier this week, Kamenshchik rejected the accusations aimed at his high-level employees.
"To be fair, not a single one of the official inquiries mentioned me as a guilty party," he said. "Still, I don't think such a thing is impossible. The investigators are authorized to do that."
The Russian businessman denied any wrongdoing. "We firmly assert that the airport safety was in accordance with the law and it still is," he said.
Kamenshchik is the chairman of the board at Domodedovo and the owner of the company running the busiest airport in the country. US magazine "Forbes" has estimated his current wealth at $2.9 billion (2.61 billion euros).
A lawyer for the victims of the Domodedovo blast said Thursday that his clients are preparing to ask for large amounts of money in damages.
dj/cmk (Interfax, AP, Reuters)