Moscow (AFP) - Russia on Tuesday opened a criminal probe into the death of a 14-year-old Russian model who died following Shanghai Fashion Week, amid concerns about her working conditions.
Investigators in the Perm region where Vlada Dzyuba lived are looking in to whether her death was caused by negligence, TASS state news agency reported, citing regional investigators.
She died at a Chinese hospital on Friday from multiple organ failure, after working at the Shanghai event's catwalk shows.
Her mother told Russian television that she had recently complained of exhaustion from working a 13-hour day.
ESEE Model Management, the Chinese agency that represented Dzyuba, denied allegations that the teenage model had been overworked and underpaid and claimed she died from sepsis, a type of bacterial blood poisoning.
Russian investigators have not yet named any suspects in the probe.
They said they are considering whether to contact Chinese authorities for "international legal help and collaboration in investigating the case."
Elvira Zaitseva, the head of the Russian agency in Perm that represented Dzyuba, told local news site 59.ru that she had been called in for questioning and that Dzyuba's friends and family were also being questioned.
On Tuesday, Russia's Consul-General in Shanghai, Alexei Yevsikov, told TASS that he was concerned by the young model's working conditions, including a lack of health insurance.
"It raises questions that irresponsible intermediary companies are sending off minors unaccompanied by legal representatives," Yevsikov said.
"What's more, in breach of the contract, medical insurance was not issued (for Dzyuba)," he added.
He warned that the modelling industry in China "is taking on unhealthy traits".
"A huge number of Russian models come to China, especially the eastern regions. We know nothing about them, since none of them register with the consulate," Yevskikov said.
"We only find out about them when something tragic happens, like now."