MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian court postponed until Friday a preliminary hearing on the death of the ex-boss of French oil major Total who was killed when his jet collided with a snow plough in a Moscow airport.
At a session of the court on Thursday, lawyers for the five airport employees who are defendants in the case said the investigation had missed crucial evidence. Prosecutors said they needed more time to respond to the defense claims, and the judge gave them until Friday.
Christophe de Margerie, chief executive of France’s largest listed company, was killed in October 2014 along with three air crew when his jet hit the snow plough as it was taking off from Moscow’s Vnukovo airport in the middle of the night.
The trial of the five airport employees has been postponed several times and Russia’s IAC civil aviation investigative body has yet to release its report about the crash, which critics say exposed the country’s patchy air safety record.
Alexander Karabanov, the lawyer for snow plough driver Vladimir Martynenko, said lawyers for the defense had put forward a motion for further investigation in the case.
“At the moment motions were put forward in court on additional investigation because there were major breaches of laws,” Karabanov told reporters outside Moscow’s Solntsevo District Court on Thursday.
“The prosecutor asked for more time so that he can prepare and give a substantive response,” he said.
The lawyers believe that the investigation had not taken into consideration the actions of the flight crew, including how the pilots should have acted, said Leonid Kurakin, the lawyer for Vnukovo airport’s head of flights Roman Dunayev.
“These issues were not worked through by the investigation.”
Reporting by Reuters Television in Moscow; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov and Maria Vasilyeva