Bombers bribed way onto Russian flights

THURSDAY, SEPT. 16, 2004

MOSCOW – Two Chechen women suspected of blowing up Russian passenger jets last month were briefly detained by police before the flights but bribed at least one airline employee to get on the planes, media reports said Wednesday.

One of the alleged suicide bombers used an intermediary to pay $34 to a Sibir airlines employee to board a jet, even though she had a ticket for a flight the next day, the Interfax news agency quoted Russia’s Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov as saying. She got on the plane two minutes before check-in closed, he said.

The same intermediary also took a bribe from the other alleged suicide bomber to get on a Volga-Aviaexpress flight, he said.

Ustinov said both the intermediary and the Sibir airline employee have been arrested.

The two planes crashed almost simultaneously on the night of Aug. 24 after taking off from Moscow’s Domodyedovo airport, killing 90 people.


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