An Orthodox priest who endorses the jailing of the Pussy Riot group of Russian activists has crashed a BMW Z4 roadster with diplomatic licence plates into two cars in Moscow, raising new questions about the lifestyle of the country’s clergy.
Alexei Podobedov – also known as Igumen Timofei – collided with the vehicles on the evening of July 31, but details of the accident only emerged this week.
The BMW sports car the priest was driving had Maltese diplomatic number plates and he told police it belonged to a friend. Reports that Mr Podobedov, 38, was inebriated, were strenuously denied by his lawyer.
The driver of one the vehicles struck by the priest’s car, Irina Likholetova, contacted a popular news website saying she feared the incident would be covered up because of the priest’s status.
Ms Likholetova said Mr Podobedov stared blankly at her after getting out of the damaged sports car before making a call on his mobile. Several people arrived shortly afterwards and removed the BMW’s diplomatic plates, she said.