MOSCOW, December 20 (RIA Novosti) – A former Russian deputy governor has been placed in custody by a court on suspicion of beating up a flight attendant during a drunken mid-air brawl, investigators said Friday.
Andrei Tretyakov, who was deputy governor of the Chelyabinsk Region in Russia’s Urals until last year, was detained on Sunday after allegedly attacking a flight attendant who had refused to allow him to use a business class toilet.
Tretyakov had an economy class seat. The Moscow-bound plane from the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk had to make an emergency landing in Novosibirsk following the incident.
“Tretyakov was arrested at the request of investigators,” said Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee.
Tretyakov, 45, is accused of hooliganism and faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
He appealed to the judge during Friday’s hearing not to place him in custody because he was a member of a working group charged with drafting new tax regulations for companies in the mining and natural resources sector.
“There’s no way I can flee the country,” he said.
His lawyer Denis Sadovsky said that the court’s ruling will be appealed because the judge “failed to take into account a number of important facts.”
He claimed that a medical examination had revealed that the flight attendant suffered no harm. Police in Novosibirsk have previously reported that the victim was taken to hospital with bruising and a head injury after being struck “seven or ten times” during the attack.
Tretyakov said that he was flying to Moscow “for charity work.” He earlier told journalists that he had drunk “only three cocktails” before the flight, but became intoxicated because he had been fasting.
Investigators have also charged Alexander Zuichenko, who accompanied Tretyakov during the flight, with threatening to kill another passenger who tried to intervene to protect the flight attendant. He faces possible imprisonment of up to two years if found guilty.