Russia has charged a leading Bolshoi dancer with grievous bodily harm after he admitted ordering an assault on the famed ballet troupe's chief while denying ever planning the use of acid.
Russian police charged leading Bolshoi soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko, who had made a specialty of playing villains, and the suspected perpetrator and driver under a statute that could lead to their jailing for up to 12 years.
Dmitrichenko earlier told a Moscow district court he did not tell suspected perpetrator Yuri Zarutsky, who police say the dancer paid to carry out the attack, to fling acid into the face of Sergei Filin.
The acid attack left Filin, 42, battling to save his eyesight and prevent permanent facial disfigurement. He is now undergoing a long rehabilitation in Germany.
"I did not want to cause harm," Dmitrichenko told the court on Thursday, looking wan and haggard as he sat with dishevelled hair in the corner of the courtroom cage dressed in a black parka.
Dmitrichenko admitted he had been angered by Filin's behaviour as artistic director, in a row that reportedly was triggered by the ballet chief's refusal to let his dancer girlfriend take the star role in Swan Lake.
Dmitrichenko said it was Zarutsky who had originally suggested attacking Filin as a way of getting back at him for what Dmitrichenko considered his bad leadership of the Bolshoi.
"I told Yuri Zarutsky about the politics that took place in the Bolshoi Theatre, about the violations that took place and the corruption," Dmitrichenko said in televised comments.
"Then he (Zarutsky) suggested: 'OK, then I'll beat him up' and I agreed to his suggestion," said Dmitrichenko.
"The only thing I admit is that I did phone him. He asked me to tell him when Filin would be leaving the theatre. I told him; that I admit to absolutely."
But he added: "I couldn't believe that this guy who offered to beat him up went and did all this with the acid. Basically I was in shock."