Multiple Arrests in the Wake of Deadly Russian Mall Fire

Published March 26th, 2018 - 03:29 GMT
Firefighters at the burning shopping center in Kemerovo, Russia (AFP/File Photo)
Firefighters at the burning shopping center in Kemerovo, Russia (AFP/File Photo)

Multiple people were arrested Monday in the investigation of a Russian shopping mall fire that killed more than 60 people, authorities said.

The fire broke out Sunday on the upper floors of the Zimnyaya Vishnya Mall in the Siberian city of Kemerovo. It burned through a movie multiplex and a children's play area, fire officials said. Children were among the casualties.

Earlier in the day, Lee's legal team conveyed his refusal to be questioned to the prosecution, saying it was difficult to expect a fair investigation, Chosun Ilbo reported.

Still, prosecutors said visited the detention center in the afternoon, as planned. However, they left at around 3:20 p.m. after failing to gain his cooperation.

 

 

The 76-year-old was taken into custody early Thursday, after a Seoul court issued an arrest warrant over 12 charges including bribery, embezzlement and abuse-of-power.

Investigators suspect that the former conservative leader embezzled more than $32 million through auto parts company DAS which he is believed to secretly own.

He is also suspected of having received kickbacks from the country's spy agency and large corporations.

Testimonies from former National Intelligence Service directors and Lee's ex-secretaries have admitted to funneling illegal funds into his presidential office.

Meanwhile, Lee has insisted that the investigation targeting him and his acquaintances is a means of political retaliation under the Moon Jae-in government to avenge the death of former liberal President Roh Moo-hyun.

Roh committed suicide in 2009 when he became embroiled in a bribery investigation under the Lee administration.

"Investigators have continued to call in various people including ex-secretaries even after Lee's arrest and they are publicizing the unilateral allegations without discretion," Lee's lawyers said.

Prosecutors say they will make another attempt at interrogating the former leader.

Lee's detention period expires on Saturday. If the warrant is extended, prosecutors will have until April 10 to question him under arrest.

 

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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