Posted by News Express | 21 October 2014 | 3,556 times
The chief executive of oil giant Total died shortly after his private jet crashed into a snow plough in Moscow last night – prompting a criminal probe to be launched.
Christophe de Margerie, the 63-year-old Frenchman, was the only passenger on the Falcon 50, which is thought to have had four crew members on board who also lost their lives.
Their aircraft collided with the clearing machine on take-off, and had been heading for Paris, said a spokesman for Vnukovo Airport, in the Russian capital.
Tatyana Morozova, a spokesman for the Russian transport department, said: “A criminal investigation has been opened into the violation of safety regulations after a light aircraft crash in the capital’s Vnukovo Airport.”
The plane was sending distress signals while still in the air and reporting an engine fire and fuselage damage. “It then crashed onto the runway, killing everybody on board,” said the spokesman, who said the accident happened soon after midnight Moscow time.
Pictures showed the burning wreckage, with fire crews and ambulances standing by Vnukovo Airport suspended all flights after the incident.
Mr De Margerie, who earned £2 million a year, had been the figurehead of Total for seven years.
He was a scion of the Taittinger champagne dynasty who rose to become one of the most flamboyant characters in the international oil industry.
He had led Total to huge success as it expanded its markets around the world but his career was dogged by controversy.
Last year his multinational was acquitted of corruption charges related to the United Nations oil-for-food programme in Iraq.
In May 2013, Total agreed to pay £246 million to settle US criminal and civil allegations that it paid bribes to win oil and gas contracts in Iran. Mr De Margerie is survived by a wife and three grown-up children
•Adapted froma MailOnline report. Photo shows late TOTAL CEO Christophe de Margerie.
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