Toilets Hijack Bastrykin Site

The personal web site of Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin has been occupied by an apparently defunct company selling bathroom fittings.

Biographical from the site, Bastrykin.ru, was cited by several major media outlets when the Bastrykin, then a little-known official, was appointed in June 2007 to head the committee, a semiautonomous body under the auspices of the Prosecutor General's Office.

Photographs of Bastrykin credited to the site are still floating around on various news portals, including Lenta.ru.

As of Wednesday, however, visitors to the site were greeted by information about a company called Tremp that claims to specialize in sinks, toilets, urinals and other fittings imported from the Czech Republic.

Curiously, State Duma Deputy and muckraking journalist Alexander Khinshtein published an investigative piece Wednedsay in Moskovsky Komsomolets accusing Bastrykin of illegally owning a real estate business in Prague.

It was unclear exactly when Tremp displaced Bastrykin from the domain. The site provides an address for the company in northeastern Moscow and telephone numbers.

People contacted at the listed numbers directed calls to a nearby household appliances shop. A man who answered the phone there Wednesday evening said the store had indeed belonged to Tremp and that the company had been importing toilets and other bathroom fittings from the Czech Republic.

"But they closed the business last year, and the now the appliances are produced in Russia," he said.

The man, who refused to give his name, expressed amazement when told that the defunct company's web site was working under domain http://bastrykin.ru. "You must be joking," he said.

Khinshtein said he was unaware of the goings-on with the web site. "This is the first I've heard of it," he said Wednesday evening.