French wine merchant, family killed in Moscow fire

20th April 2009, Comments 0 comments

Russian authorities open a murder inquiry after a Frenchman and his family were found dead in what appears to be a result of arson.

MOSCOW – Russian authorities opened a murder inquiry Monday after a Frenchman working in the wine business, his wife and their daughter were found dead in a fire at their Moscow apartment, officials said.

"The family of a French businessman was killed this morning as a result of a fire which started at 6:00 am (0200 GMT)," Viktoria Tsyplenkova, a spokeswoman for the investigating committee of Moscow prosecutors, told AFP.

Russian news agencies identified the man as French businessman Thierry Spinelli, who worked in the wine business, his wife Olga and two-year-old daughter Lisa.

"A murder inquiry has been opened and experts are working at the scene," Tsyplenkova added, saying investigators believed the fire was the result of arson and the businessman's wife had been suffocated.

Anatoly Bagmet, an official with the investigative committee, told news agencies that the arson theory was backed up by the fact that the apartment door appeared to have been open when the fire started.

Spinelli had worked as the representative of a French firm promoting Bordeaux wines in Russia and had also been commercial director of a company making wine in one of Russia's few wine-producing regions.

AFP / Expatica

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