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Russia: Gusinsky To Appear In Spanish Court

Madrid, 22 December 2000 (RFE/RL) -- A Spanish judge is due today to consider a bail request from Russian media magnate Vladimir Gusinsky, who is wanted in Russia on fraud charges. Gusinsky's lawyers said yesterday they were hopeful Judge Baltazar Garzon would release Gusinsky from jail and place him under house arrest while Moscow's extradition request is considered. Gusinsky, head of the Media-Most group, was arrested in southern Spain last week on a Russian warrant. Russian authorities are seeking his extradition so he can face fraud charges at home.

Gusinsky says he is a victim of political persecution because of criticism his media empire has made of President Vladimir Putin's policies. Russian officials deny this, saying they are only seeking to enforce financial laws Gusinsky may have violated.