Prosecution charges eight in Zolitūde disaster

The Riga District Court prosecutor has filed criminal charges against eight persons accused of liability for the Zolitūde Maxima supermarket roof collapse disaster.

Five of them are charged with violating building codes resulting in grave consequences, whereas the other three fall under an article of the law providing for the liability of negligent state officials failing to fulfill their job obligations, thus also causing a grievous outcome.

The roof of the shopping center in the Riga neighborhood of Zolitūde caved in on shoppers, and again later onto rescuers on the evening of November 21, 2013, despite the triggering of fire alarms beforehand, killing 54 persons and injuring dozens.

Suspects named in the case already include Riga City Council’s Construction Supervisory Board senior expert Marika Treija and former deputy chief of the Riga Building Inspection Jānis Balodis. They are now joined by Aija Meļņikova, formerly the chief building inspector who signed off on the putting into service of the Maxima supermarket shopping center at the address of 20 Priedaines street. Also still under suspicion is Maxima Latvija employee Inna Šuvajeva.

Last week the State Police handed over the results of its massive criminal investigation to the prosecution, asking for charges to be brought against the eight persons.

The total amount of compensation claims in the two cases is over €100 million.

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