Russian soldiers charged with stealing wallet from Polish plane

Moscow, Dec 29 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The Russian military said Saturday it has wrapped up an inquiry into four soldiers who allegedly stole a wallet found in the wreckage of Polish President Lech Kaczynski's plane, which crashed in 2010 killing all 96 people on board.

The Soviet-made Tu-154 passenger jet went down April 10, 2010 in thick fog near the western Russian city of Smolensk, killing the president, his wife and many other top Polish officials.

Military investigators said that on the day of the crash, four conscripts -- Sergei Syrov, Igor Pustovarov, Yury Sankov and Artur Pankratov - discovered a wallet with a bank card and its pin code that belonged to top Polish official Andrzej Przewoznik, and withdrew money from his account.

The four will stand trial and face up to six years if convicted.

Przewoznik, who also died in the crash, was the chief organiser of the Katyn memorial events, which the Polish president was scheduled to attend.

His widow told journalists in 2010 that some $2,000 disappeared from Przewoznik's bank account, with the first transaction taking place on the day of the air crash, and two other transactions occurring in the following two days, also in Smolensk.

In June 2010, the four soldiers confessed to stealing 60,345 rubles (about $2,000).

The Polish dignitaries were flying to Smolensk to attend joint Polish-Russian ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the 1940 massacre in nearby Katyn forest, when thousands of captured Polish officers were executed by the Soviet secret police.

--IANS/RIA Novosti

pm/vm


Updated Date: Dec 29, 2012 22:46 PM

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