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Scene of the automobile accident involving Russian billionaire State Duma member Suleiman Kerimov and one passenger in Nice, France
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Nov. 27, 2006
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Suleiman Kerimov Badly Injured in Car Wreck
Suleiman Kerimov, the Russian businessman listed by Forbes as the 72nd richest person in the world, was seriously injured on Saturday in an automobile accident in Nice, France. He lost control of his Ferrari Enzo, which struck a tree at an enormous speed and burst into flames, as he was traveling from the local airport toward the city center. Kerimov was taken by helicopter to the regional burn center at Hopital de la Conception in Marseille. He is now on artificial respiration.
The accident occurred at about 3:30 p.m. on a stretch of the Promenade des Anglais where the speed limit is 50 km./h. Kerimov himself was behind the wheel and moving significantly faster then the speed limit when the black Ferrari unexpectedly crossed the sidewalk and struck a tree.

Kerimov and his passenger were pulled from the burning car by passersby, who also tried to extinguish the flames using clothing and rugs. It took fire brigades from the Nice airport to dowse the flames, however. The accident caused a two-hour traffic jam on the busy highway.

Police and an emergency helicopter appeared on the scene within moments. The helicopter took the seriously injured Kerimov to the burn center in Marseille. The female passenger in the car, who was less seriously inured, was taken to Saint Roch Hospital in Nice. A spokesman at the Russian consulate in Marseille, which also serves the Riviera, told Kommersant that they were maintaining control over the situation and that official information would be available on Monday.

A spokesman for the Nice police commissariat, Kommersant was told that the judicial police investigate road transport incidents. He refused to comment on the speed at which the Ferrari was traveling or to give the name of Kerimov's passenger. At the Maritime Alps Department police prefecture, they acknowledged that Kerimov may have been the victim of his own carelessness. The accident may have occurred because the driver lost control, a spokesman said.

At the Marseille hospital center, which unites four hospitals, including Conception, where Kerimov is being cared for, Kommersant was told that Kerimov's family had requested that information on his condition not be made public. It became known that evening, however, that Kerimov had received numerous burns and a head injury and that his condition was worsening. Doctors were forced to place him on artificial respiration. At Saint Roche Hospital, they stated that the name of the passenger in the Ferrari is unknown because she was admitted with no name indicated. Doctors declined to specify the nature of her injuries.

Kamilla Spence, vice president of BIN Bank, in which Kerimov hold almost 20 percent of the stock, told Kommersant that at the present time, Mr. Kerimov is alive and doctors are controlling his condition. She added that bank president Mikhail Shishkhanov has flown from the United States to Marseille. Many members of the Dagestani diaspora have flown from Moscow to France as well.

Kerimov is a member of the Russian State Duma, deputy chairman of the Committee on Physical Fitness, Sports and Youth Affairs, and a member of the LDPR faction. LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky called the incident a usual traffic accident and said that Kerimov would receive due attention. If it had been an explosion, you could think that it was something like murder This is a usual traffic accident, a purely technical moment, chance, and nothing more, Zhirinovsky said. He suggested that the cause of the accident was objective. There may have been sun. Maybe he could have been putting on sunglasses and was poorly oriented. We have to wait for information from the French police about what really happened. Maybe the car was defective. We don't know anything, he said.
Nikolay Sergeev

All the Article in Russian as of Nov. 27, 2006

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