December 9, 2016 / 2:02 AM / 8 months ago

Bolivian airline CEO to be jailed until soccer crash trial over

Rescue crew work at the wreckage from a plane that crashed into Colombian jungle with Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense near Medellin, Colombia, November 29, 2016.Fredy Builes

LA PAZ (Reuters) - The head of the Bolivian company whose plane crashed in Colombia last month, killing dozens of Brazilian soccer players, will be held on manslaughter and other charges until the investigation is complete, authorities said on Thursday.

Gustavo Vargas, chief executive of charter airline LaMia, who denies the charges against him, was brought in for initial questioning by Bolivian prosecutors on Tuesday.

After Vargas spent Wednesday in a hospital being treated for conditions including diabetes, a judge agreed with prosecutors that there was enough evidence to hold him until trial.

"The prosecution substantiated the charges and showed there was a risk that he might flee the country before trial," National Anti-Corruption Director Fanny Alfaro told reporters after a more than eight-hour court hearing in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz.

Vargas was defiant, telling reporters outside the courthouse: "The prosecutors are a bunch of liars."

The crash happened in Colombia late last month, killing 71 people after the plane apparently ran out of fuel.

The aircraft had been carrying Brazil's Chapacoense soccer team to a championship in the Colombian city Medellin.

Bolivian authorities last week suspended the license of LaMia, which was bringing the Chapecoense club to the finals of the Copa Sudamericana.

Reporting by Daniel Ramos; Writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Leslie Adler

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