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Ex-Official Charged in Fatal Car Crash

A former official at the center of a scandal surrounding a traffic accident that occurred in Moscow in October and claimed the life of a 26-year-old woman has officially been charged in connection with the case, a statement on the Interior Ministry's website said Friday.

Zamir Abdulkerimov, a former adviser to the secretariat of the Coordination Council of Prosecutor Generals of CIS Countries — a group chaired by Prosecutor General Yury Chaika — faces the charge of "violating traffic regulations and causing the death of a person through negligence." The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Witnesses identified Abdulkerimov as the driver of the Mercedes S320 that caused the crash, reported, but the vehicle fled the scene immediately after the incident.

Abdulkerimov later told police when questioned over the incident on Jan. 24 that he sold the vehicle to a person on the street five minutes prior to the accident. He said he was approached by a man who offered to buy the vehicle on the spot for half price when he stopped to buy cigarettes. Abdulkerimov did not provide any documentation on the sale of the vehicle.

Abdulkerimov's testimony prompted an uproar in the Russian blogosphere and protests by Pyotr Shkumatov, the head of the Blue Buckets driver activists group, who held a lone picket on Jan. 29 in front of the Coordination Council of Prosecutor General's office in Moscow with a sign offering to buy a Mercedes-Benz S320 at half-price.

Abdulkerimov was detained by police for questioning the next day.

He resigned from his job on Jan. 28, according to a statement posted on the organization's website.

The Coordination Council of Prosecutor Generals of CIS Countries was established in 1995 and became an intergovernmental agency in 2000. It is made up of prosecutors from Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldavia, Tajikistan and Ukraine.

The organization's duties appear to be purely bureaucratic, with objectives listed on the official website including: "organizing cooperation between prosecutors in CIS countries," "developing proposals on the convergence of national legislation," "organizing joint studies on problems with fighting crime and procuratorial supervision," etc.

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