Russian held in Spain over deadly disco fire

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Spanish police have arrested a Russian businessman suspected of being responsible for a fire that killed more than 150 people at a Russian nightclub last year, they said Thursday.

Konstantin Mrykhin was arrested near his home in the northeastern city of Barcelona, they said in a statement.

It said he was the "commercial director" of The Lame Horse restaurant and club in the Russian city of Perm, some 1,200 kilometres (700 miles) east of Moscow.

The club went up in flames on the night of December 4-5 last year after fireworks ignited the wooden decor and ceiling.

People inside the club were trapped as illegal construction had made the emergency exits inaccessible, according to the Russian authorities.

A total of 156 people were killed in the blaze.

In the wake of the tragedy, authorities accused club managers of ignoring repeated orders to comply with safety standards, with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev condemning them as without "brains nor conscience".

Mrykhin "was wanted by Russian authorities for organizing the fireworks that caused the tragedy, ignoring safety measures," the Spanish statement said.

"After the tragedy, he left Russia to try to avoid the possible sentence of 10 years in prison and was found by Spanish police in Barcelona."

It said he has now "been placed at the disposal of the National Court to organise his extradition" to Russia.

© 2010 AFP

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