An engineer who carried out last-minute repairs to the doomed plane belonging to Yevgeny Prigozhin is under interrogation by the Russian authorities, a Telegram channel has reported.
A suspected explosion led to the notorious Wagner Group leader’s Embraer Legacy 600 plunging to the ground this week amid Western suspicions – denied as “absolute lies" by the Kremlin – that Mad Vlad Putin ordered his assassination. All 10 people on the plane were killed.
Prigozhin had led a short-lived but stunning coup attempt in June against the dictator, criticising the efforts of Putin’s top war commanders leading the disastrous invasion of Ukraine.
READ MORE: Wagner group graves destroyed after leader Prigozhin's plane 'shot down by Putin'
Engineer Sergey Kitrish, 41, has been under interrogation in the days since the crash, reported channel VChK-OGPU which has links to the Russian security services.
"He constantly worked with Prigozhin's aircraft and it was he who carried out the last repairs to replace the landing gear brake and turbo cooler.”
Investigators believe a bomb could have been planted during the last-minute repairs.
“Shortly after the explosion, Kitrash was taken under the care of the [Russian] special services and taken to the crash site.”
He was quizzed by crash investigator Col Ivan Sibul.
“He was interrogated and now the fate of Kitrash is being decided. They haven't let him go home yet.
“The fate of two more engineers who participated in the installation of equipment is not known.”
The other engineers were named as Artur Michenkov and Aleksey Anshukov.
Despite dictator Putin’s claims of innocence, many suspect him of being behind the downing of the plane – either directly or indirectly.
The Russian president and former top KGB man, who has faced severe embarrassment over his botched Ukraine invasion, has a brutal record of disposing of his political enemies, both in Russia and abroad, and he’s known to have a particular hatred towards those he believes are traitors.
Prigozhin’s imminent demise had been widely predicted following the coup attempt.
Meanwhile, the face of a woman has emerged who was on board the parked jet at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport a few hours before its final tragic flight.
Business executive Alexandra Yulina, 37, inspected the Embraer Legacy 600 amid claims of a security breach to allow her on board.
She is boss of VIP airline Rusjet and was reportedly seeking to buy the plane. She was falsely registered as a passenger and was allowed through security into the plane just hours before it took off and crashed, it was reported.
Prigozhin’s plane manager – a woman who has not been named – insisted she accompanied Yulina and Rusjet technical director Sergey Klokotov when they visited the plane.
“I can say for sure that they did not leave anything in the cabin, nothing,” she said.
But she admitted there had been technical problems and these required repairs before the flight, which was delayed by more than a day.
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“In addition to the turbo-cooler, the brake on the rear chassis was also changed,” she said.
A turbo-cooler had been imported from the US, evading sanctions, but it was damaged when it fell on a warehouse floor.
A replacement part of unknown origin was fitted before its final journey, she indicated.
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