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Criminal negligence caused the plane crash at Moscow’s Vnukovo International Airport that resulted in the death of Total CEO Christophe de Margerie, Russian investigators have said.

Christophe de Margerie died along with three crew members when his corporate jet collided with a snow plough.

Federal investigators said that the driver of the snow plough was drunk.


Investigators also said that “negligent” managers at the airport had failed to co-ordinate the actions of their employees.

The Investigations Committee of Russia, a federal agency which answers to President Vladimir Putin, is investigating the crash.

“It is already obvious that the cause of the events was not at all a horrific tragic confluence of circumstances, which is how representatives of the airport are trying to present it, but criminal negligence by officials who could not ensure the coordinated actions of airport employees,” said committee spokesman Vladimir Markin.

Several officials at the airport were likely to be suspended, according to Vladimir Markin.

Criminal negligence caused the plane crash at Moscow’s Vnukovo International Airport that resulted in the death of Total CEO Christophe de Margerie

Criminal negligence caused the plane crash at Moscow’s Vnukovo International Airport that resulted in the death of Total CEO Christophe de Margerie

Russia’s transport regulator is also investigating the crash, which it said happened in “bad visibility”.

Christophe de Margerie’s jet had been due to fly to Paris from Moscow’s Vnukovo International Airport.

Vnukovo is located south-west of Moscow and is used by President Vladimir Putin and other government officials.

Pictures from the scene show the driver of the snow plough looking shocked, but walking unaided and without any obvious serious injury.

Christophe de Margerie, 63, had been chief executive of Europe’s third largest oil company since 2007. He was highly regarded within the oil industry.

According to Russia’s Vedomosti newspaper, Christophe de Margerie had met Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev at his country residence outside Moscow to discuss foreign investment in Russia.

Total is one of the biggest foreign investors in Russia and is planning to double its output from the country by 2020.

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Total CEO Christophe de Margerie has died in an air crash in Moscow.

Christophe de Margerie’s corporate jet collided with a snow plough and then was engulfed in flames. All four people on board were killed.

The driver of the snow plough was drunk, according to Russian investigators.

Christophe de Margerie, 63, had been chief executive of Europe’s third largest oil company since 2007. He was highly regarded within the oil industry.

“France is losing an extraordinary business leader who turned Total into a world giant,” French PM Manuel Valls said in a statement.

“France is losing a great industry captain and a patriot.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his condolences.

Christophe de Margerie had been chief executive of Europe's third largest oil company since 2007

Christophe de Margerie had been chief executive of Europe’s third largest oil company since 2007 (photo Reuters)

News agency Tass quoted a Kremlin spokesman as saying: “The President highly appreciated de Mergerie’s business skills, his continued commitment to the development of not only bilateral Russian-French relations, but also on multi-faceted levels.”

Christophe de Margerie joined Total Group after graduating from the Ecole Superieure de Commerce in Paris in 1974.

At the company, where he had spent his entire career, he was nicknamed “Big Moustache”.

According to Russia’s Vedomosti newspaper, Christophe de Margerie had met Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev at his country residence outside Moscow to discuss foreign investment in Russia.

Total is an important player in the Russian energy market and Christophe de Margerie was a staunch defender of maintaining ties, despite Western sanctions against Moscow over its actions in Ukraine.

Total is one of the biggest foreign investors in Russia and is planning to double its output from the country by 2020.

Christophe de Margerie’s jet had been due to fly to Paris from Moscow’s Vnukovo International Airport.

Vnukovo, is located to the southwest of Moscow and is used by President Vladimir Putin and other government officials.

Russia’s emergencies ministry said in a statement the accident had involved a Falcon-50 plane shortly before midnight local time on October 20.

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