Spanish man wanted over Bangladesh factory disaster

Bangladesh police said Sunday they were looking for a Spanish businessman and part-owner of a factory in a garment block that collapsed last week killing at least 367 people.

Firefighters use a crane to inspect the rubble of a collapsed eight-storey building in Savar, Dhaka on Sunday. Bangladesh police say they are looking for a Spanish businessman and part-owner of a factory in a garment block that collapsed last week killing at least 367 people.

David Mayor is the managing director of the Phantom-Tac apparel factory, a joint Spanish-Bangladeshi venture that was housed in the eight-storey Rana Plaza, which imploded last Wednesday.

Police told AFP on Sunday they had filed preliminary charges of "causing death due to negligence" against him and the owners of another four manufacturing firms inside the illegally built block.

The case was filed after survivors told police how managers had forced them to return to work on Wednesday despite an evacuation the day before caused by the building developing visible cracks.

Speaking to AFP in 2009, Mayor explained that he ran the factory and a training centre for women in rural Bangladesh and said his group was run ethically.

"We are a factory. Prices are tight. Every single cent is important. We are not an NGO, but in addition we have this social concern," he had said at the time.

His whereabouts are currently unknown, but he faces up to five years in jail if convicted in Bangladesh.

"He is the accused number four," Kaiser Matubbor, the investigating officer on the case, told AFP by phone as he read out a "First Information Report", the first legal step in a criminal case.

Mayor's business partner Aminul Islam, who is the chairman of Phantom-Tac, was arrested along with two other factory owners on Saturday, a Dhaka police spokesman said.

Mayor did not return calls or reply to an email sent by AFP.

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Writer: AFP
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