MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Moscow court on Monday punished the son of a top oil executive for leading police on a Hollywood-style car chase through the streets of Moscow, in a case which has focused public anger on how the offspring of Russia’s elite behave.
Ruslan Shamsuarov, the son of a senior Lukoil executive, evaded police for five hours on May 22 along with several friends in his $175,000 Mercedes jeep, part of what the group said was high spirited post-nightclub entertainment.
The footage went viral on the Russian-language internet, making it harder for the authorities to ignore.
Careering through the largely deserted streets of early morning Moscow, the jeep -- with no licence plates and tinted windows -- can be seen mounting and crossing central reservations, driving on the wrong side of the road, and running red lights.
Its occupants laugh and insult the police and at the chase’s end, Shamsuarov predicts he will escape serious punishment. Initially he was right: police first gave him a fine of just 5,000 roubles ($77.32), a paltry sum for him and his friends.
But on Monday, after what looked like a sustained Kremlin-backed campaign, a court sentenced him to 300 hours of compulsory community service and ordered the state to confiscate his expensive vehicle.
The case was unusual because the Russian elite’s children have long used Moscow’s roads as a personal race track with relative impunity.
The court rejected a state prosecutor’s demand to sentence him to more than two years in jail, but prosecutors said they would appeal the ruling and demand a tougher sentence.
($1 = 62.2255 roubles)
Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov/Andrew Osborn; Editing by Christian Lowe