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Bolshoi dancer confesses to acid attack on dance company's director

Bolshoi dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko performs Ivan the Terrible, during a dress rehearsal of Ivan the Terrible in the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Russia on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012.

March 6, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A top dancer has admitted that he organized a vicious acid attack on the artistic director of the Bolshoi ballet, Moscow police said Wednesday.

Pavel Dmitrichenko, a 29-year-old leading soloist in the prestigious dance company, has reportedly signed a statement admitting his role in the plot to attack Sergei Filin.

The 42-year-old artistic director was assaulted as he attempted to gain entry into his home on Jan. 17. According to authorities, a masked attacker threw a jar of sulfuric acid on the director's face as he attempted to type his building's code-entry.

Dmitrichenko has since admitted he was the mastermind behind the attack and that the two other men were his accomplices.

"I organized that attack but not the extent that it occurred," Dmitrichenko said in footage released by Russian police.

The top dancer, known for his role as the villain in "Swan Lake", reportedly harbored "personal enmity" against Filin. The victim's colleagues have said the attack could be in retaliation for the directors' selection of certain dancers over others for prized roles.

According to AFP, the Russian newspaper, the two clashed after Dmitrichenko's girlfriend, soloist Anzhelina Vorontsova, was snubbed for a role. Filin's lawyer, however, told the Rossiya television channel that Vorontsova is unlikely to be the only cause of the conflict.

"We cannot say that Ms. Vorontsova was the only reason why it happened," Tatyana Stukalova said. "We believe that investigators will still have to do a lot of work to establish all the facts."

Russian newspapers quoted unidentified ballet dancers saying that Dmitrichenko had a fiery temper.

Yuri Zarutsy, identified as the alleged attacker, and his getaway driver, Andrei Lipatov, were also arrested Tuesday for their roles in the crime.

Authorities reportedly tracked the suspects down via their cell phones.

Filin, who suffered severe burns to his eyes and face following the attack, is undergoing treatment in Germany.

ABC News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.