Russia's top airport under state pressure after bombing

30th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

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

Following the January suicide bombing that killed 37 and injured more than 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 defence and security," the prosecutor's office said, adding the scheme concealed the airport's ownership structure and stood in the way of efficient control.

The airport denied any wrongdoing.

"Domodedovo's ownership structure is typical for all Russian holdings and complies with Russian legislation," the airport said in a press release.

"The participation of international companies in the management of a major entreprise like the airport is a widespread international practice," it said.

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 law banning foreigners from managing Russia's strategic transport hubs. It added that it had tasked tax officials with conducting a probe at the airport.

The airport said it was "ready to provide all necessary documents in the framework of the Russian tax service's inspection."

© 2011 AFP

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