Russia's top airport under state pressure after bombing

30th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russia's top airport Domodedovo, the target of a deadly suicide blast, on Saturday came under pressure from prosecutors who said its foreign ownership was "unacceptable" and a security threat.

Following the January suicide bombing that killed 37 and injured over a hundred in the airport's international arrivals hall, President Dmitry Medvedev ordered officials to tighten up security across the country's transport hubs.

The Russian General Prosecutor's Office issued a statement on Saturday, saying it had established that Domodedovo was under management of foreign offshore companies.

"The situation is deemed unacceptable taking into account the Domodedovo airport's strategic significance for the country's defense and security," the Prosecutor's Office said, adding the scheme allowed to conceal the airport's ownership structure and stood in the way of efficient control.

Russia's biggest airport, Domodedovo is also the only privately controlled airport, rebuilt from an ageing Soviet relic to a bustling hub since 1997, when it went under new management of the East Line group.

The Prosecutor's Office said that it came forward with a proposal for a bill banning foreigners from managing Russia's strategic transport hubs. It added that it had tasked tax officials with conducting a probe at the airport.

Critics have long accused Russian authorities of putting pressure on businesses, often with an eye to kickbacks.

© 2011 AFP

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