World News

Cyprus police question man over links to Beirut chemicals cargo

NICOSIA (Reuters) - Cyprus has located and questioned a Russian man named in multiple news reports as the owner of the ship that carried a cargo of ammonium nitrate abandoned in Beirut and that exploded in a devastating fireball.

A Cyprus police spokesman said an individual, who he did not name, was questioned at his home in Cyprus on Thursday afternoon.

“There was a request from the Interpol Beirut to locate this person and ask certain questions related to the cargo,” the spokesman, Christos Andreou, told Reuters. He said the responses were being passed on to Beirut.

He declined to give further information.

A security source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the man was Russian businessman Igor Grechushkin, 43.

Attempts to contact Grechushkin were unsuccessful.

Boris Prokoshev, who was captain of the Rhosus in 2013, said the chemicals ended up in Beirut after the ship’s owner - who he identified as Grechushkin - told him to make an unscheduled stop in Lebanon to pick up extra cargo.

The chemicals, which had been stored at Beirut port for years, exploded on Tuesday in the country’s worst peace-time disaster.

Reporting by Michele Kambas; Editing by Frances Kerry