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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Swiss Crash Suspect Won’t Contest Case

The lawyer for a Russian student who crashed a Lamborghini sports car into another car in Switzerland last week said Wednesday that sensationalist reports about his client were unfairly inflating the run-of-the-mill accident.

Zia Babayev, 22, was expelled from his university in Geneva because of the Nov. 19 accident, an official at the university told The Moscow Times.

The crash caused an uproar in Russia and Switzerland following reports that he and three other Russian citizens were racing while drunk and had fled the scene of the accident, leaving a Volkswagen’s 70-year-old driver seriously injured.

Babayev’s lawyer, Jacques Barillon, said no race had taken place and that coverage of the accident had become “complete madness.”

“The story is being inflated in every possible way, just because it features nice, expensive cars, millionaire parents and foreign passports,” Barillon told Gazeta.ru in an interview.

Barillon confirmed that his client was found to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.11 percent, above the legal limit, but said Babayev probably would not have to face criminal charges. “From the circumstances, as stated by my client and his admittance of guilt, I expect leniency from the court,” he said.

Babayev’s father is Mekhradzh Babayev, chairman of Verso-M, a construction firm based in Khanty-Mansiisk.

The lawyer also said his client had not left the scene of the accident and that Babayev was questioned by police “on the spot” before receiving medical treatment for his injuries.

Geneva police on Wednesday also denied reports that the Lamborghini’s driver had fled and was only found later.

Police spokesman Patrick Pulh told The Moscow Times that the Lamborghini’s driver and a passenger were at the scene when officers arrived. “It was just the drivers of the three other cars that were missing, and they were quickly tracked down,” he said.

Swiss media reports, citing eyewitnesses, have said Babayev’s Lamborghini Murcielago was participating in an illegal, high-speed race along Lake Geneva with some of the world’s priciest cars, including a $1.9 million Bugatti Veyron.

It was also reported that two of the four participating cars were driven by sons of Telman Ismailov, an embattled multimillionaire and owner of Moscow’s now-closed Cherkizovsky Market.

Barillon, the lawyer, rejected the notion that Babayev was a close friend of Alekper and Sarkhan Ismailov. “He hardly knows these people,” he was quoted as saying.

But the Tribune de Geneve newspaper on Wednesday ran a report claiming that the drivers were members of a notorious clique of wealthy young Russians. They had been barred from two local nightclubs earlier this year, apparently because of past brawls involving their bodyguards, the paper said.

The uproar even led Dmitry Rogozin, Moscow’s ambassador to NATO, to decry misbehavior abroad by the country’s “golden youth.”

Geneva police, who are not releasing the names of those questioned, said in a statement late Tuesday that the other foreigners had left Switzerland.

The Ismailov brothers have reportedly flown by private jet to Istanbul, where their father is believed to live. They have been identified only in Russian media, citing Swiss police sources. For legal reasons, Swiss media have only published their initials. The fourth driver has only been identified as Mironov, a common Russian surname.

Swiss media have accused the police of letting the drivers off too lightly because of their powerful parents. The police statement said detectives erred by opening just “a normal investigation.”

Meanwhile, Tamirlan Gasanov, the head of Geneva’s International Center of Moscow State University, said Babayev was expelled for violating the terms of his study.

“All of our students have signed an agreement that they will not violate Swiss law. Our standards demand this,” Gasanov said by telephone from Geneva. He said Babayev had been studying international law for five years.

The Russian-language school is not part of Moscow State University but has agreements with it, Gasanov said.