Russian Tycoon, Kerimov Recovering After Car Accident in France

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A Russian lawmaker and billionaire industrialist was being treated in a hospital Monday for severe burns suffered when a sports car he was driving slammed into a tree and caught fire in southeastern France over the weekend, police said.

Suleiman Kerimov, 40, and a 31-year-old woman who was in the car with him were injured in the crash Saturday in the southeastern city of Nice, officials said.

Kerimov was immediately flown by helicopter to a hospital in Marseille, to the west, that has a clinic specializing in treatment of burns, police said.

A spokesman for the Marseille hospital authority said Kerimov's condition remained "worrisome," and he was breathing with help from a respirator. Doctors won't know whether his condition has stabilized for another 48 hours, the spokesman said.

Russian media reports identified the woman as Tina Kandelaki, a prominent radio and television host in Russia. Nice police identified the injured woman as having the same name, but could not confirm it was the media personality. Sergei Parinov, a spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Paris, said he could not confirm her identity.

Kandelaki, 31, suffered burns on her thighs and hands. She was treated and released from a Nice hospital on Saturday before returning to Russia by plane, police said.

A police investigation into the crash was under way.

Kerimov purchased the Ferrari Enzo sports car in Nice earlier on Saturday, police said. Witnesses told investigators that the car had been weaving in and out of cars at high speeds on the seaside Promenade des Anglais, Nice's best-known thoroughfare, police said.

The vehicle spun out of control on the rain-slicked road, slammed into a tree and burst into flames. Kerimov, engulfed in flames, pulled himself out of the car and rolled on the nearby grass, police said.

Kerimov, a lawmaker in the Russian Duma, owns the Nafta-Moskva investment group, which owns gold and silver producer Polymetal and has holdings in state-controlled gas giant OAO Gazprom and savings bank Sberbank.