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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sechin Points Finger Toward Dam Managers

Repairs under way when the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydropower plant flooded last month were being done by a fraudulently created firm controlled by officials at the station, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said Thursday.

Work on Turbine 2, where the Aug. 17 accident occurred, was done by a firm called Gidroenergoremont, “a fraudulently similar name” to one of the power station’s subsidiaries, Sechin said at a meeting on causes of the accident, Interfax reported. The similarity let them win a tender for the work, he said.

“Whether there’s a connection between the accident and that activity must still be determined,” he said at the meeting, held at the damaged facility in the republic of Khakasia.

Sechin, the government’s top energy official, said plant officials, including the hydropower station’s main engineer, and their family members created the company. Mangers were “distracted by various additional commercial projects” from their oversight and safety monitoring at Sayano-Shushenskaya, he said.

Officials at RusHydro, the state-controlled power company that owns the station, should also have been overseeing the station’s management, he said.

When asked whether the accident could have been prevented, Sechin said, “They were obligated to prevent it. And never forget about the 75 victims.”