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Dancer admits acid attack: police

Date
Sergei Filin leaves the hospital.

Sergei Filin leaves the hospital. Photo: AP

MOSCOW: Bolshoi ballet soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko has confessed to organising the acid attack on the theatre’s artistic director, Sergei Filin, Moscow police said.

Dmitrichenko and two other men signed confessions in the case and remain in custody, the police said in a statement on their website on Wednesday.

Earlier Russia's interior ministry said three suspects, including the dancer, had been detained in a case that has exposed vicious infighting at the theatre.

Pavel Dmitrichenko, pictured after a dress rehearsal of Ivan the Terrible at the Bolshoi last year.

Pavel Dmitrichenko, pictured after a dress rehearsal of Ivan the Terrible at the Bolshoi last year. Photo: AP

"Police have detained the suspected perpetrator of the attack on the director of the Bolshoi Ballet, Sergei Filin," the ministry said in a statement, naming the suspect as 35-year-old Yury Zarutsky, "an ex-convict".

Two other men have also been detained as part of the criminal case, it added.

"Bolshoi Theatre soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko and driver Andrei Lipatov, who brought the suspected attacker to the scene of the crime," the ministry said.

The January attack on Mr Filin outside his apartment block in central Moscow laid bare the dark intrigues swirling at the Bolshoi where Mr Filin was a star dancer before becoming the ballet troupe's artistic director in 2011.

The incident shocked the artistic community and has developed into probably the ugliest scandal in the venerable theatre's history since it was established in 1776.

The celebrated dancer held in the case, Moscow-born Mr Dmitrichenko, joined the theatre in 2002 and became a soloist.

He recently danced the title role in Sergei Prokofiev's Ivan the Terrible.

He was due to appear next in Sleeping Beauty on March 16.

A law enforcement source said Mr Dmitrichenko was suspected as the mastermind of the attack, although this was not confirmed officially.

Also on Tuesday, officers searched Mr Dmitrichenko's home as part of the high-profile probe into the attack, which saw a masked assailant throw a solution of sulphuric acid in the face of 42-year-old Mr Filin as he entered his building through a dark parking lot.

Mr Filin spent about two weeks in a Moscow hospital receiving treatment for burns to his face and undergoing a series of operations on his eyes.

He has since been moved to Germany for more treatment that may take months.

His sight was reported to have partially recovered in one eye.

Bloomberg, AFP

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