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Russia: Media Magnate Gusinsky Arrested In Spain

Moscow, 12 December 2000 (RFE/RL) - Officials in Spain today are awaiting an official extradition request from Moscow for media magnate Vladimir Gusinsky, who was arrested at a Spanish resort earlier today. Russian prosecutors accuse Gusinsky of misrepresenting assets in his Media-Most company when he accepted loans of more than $300 million guaranteed by Russia's natural gas monopoly Gazprom. They say Gusinsky's companies were legally bankrupt at the time.

Gusinsky has rejected the allegations, saying they are a Kremlin attempt to punish him for criticism of the government in his media outlets.

Gusinsky's lawyer, Pavel Astakhov, said he is confident he can prove to Spain that the arrest warrant for Gusinsky is politically motivated. The U.S. says it is following the case closely and that it poses a threat to independent Russian media.