Russian police 'arrested' over crash victim bank card

6th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Three Russian police have been arrested for using the credit card of a victim of the April plane crash that killed Polish president Lech Kaczynski, a Polish government official said Sunday.

Russia's interior ministry rejected the Polish claim as "blasphemous".

Some 6,000 zlotys (1,500 euros) were withdrawn from the bank account of Andrezej Przewoznik, who headed Poland's committee in charge of monitoring national historic sites, according to Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita.

He was part of the Polish delegation heading to Katyn near the western Russian city of Smolensk for a ceremony marking the 1940 massacre of thousands of Polish army officers at the orders of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

"Three members of the OMON (riot police) who committed this disgusting act were quickly arrested thanks to cooperation between the Polish Security Agency and the Russian special services," Polish government spokesman Pawel Gras told the privately owned Radio Zet.

In Moscow the Russian interior ministry rejected the reports as having "no basis in reality."

"No member of the Smolensk police has been arrested in connection with the actions described and published by the media," said a ministry statement quoted by Russian news agencies.

The ministry recalled that four Smolensk police officers had been decorated for their work at the crash site by Poland's interim president Bronislaw Komorowski.

"Taking that into consideration, the accusations against the Smolensk officers seem all the more blasphemous and cynical," it said.

The Polish Security Agency's spokeswoman Katarzyna Koniecpolska-Wroblewska said that the incident involved four soldiers.

"Four suspects of the theft have been arrested and they are soldiers belonging to units that guarded the site of the Polish airplane catastrophe near Smolensk," she was quoted by the PAP news agency as saying.

The Polish president's Russian-made Tupolev Tu-154 crashed on April 10 at Smolensk in western Russia while trying to land in thick fog, killing all 96 people on board.

Russian authorities quickly sealed the area of the accident and the wreckage debris was then transported to the tarmac of Smolensk's airport.

© 2010 AFP

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