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Russia: Media Magnate Gusinsky Arrested

Moscow, 14 June 2000 (RFE/RL) - Vladimir Gusinsky, the head of the Russian media company Media-Most, was detained in Moscow yesterday on tax fraud charges. The arrest comes less than two weeks after U.S. President Bill Clinton raised Washington's concerns over the issue of press freedom with President Vladimir Putin. The U.S. expressed concern about the arrest, saying it would receive close scrutiny from the international community. State Department spokesman Philip Reeker told reporters the U.S. is following up with Russian authorities and with Media Most officials in trying to get more details about the case.

"Mr. Gusinsky is a prominent supporter of press freedom as owner of the leading independent media conglomerate in Russia. I think there have been a series of events now, including today's events in Russia, which have drawn international attention to the issue of press freedom."

At the White House, spokesman Joe Lockhart said the U.S. is concerned about some of the steps Russian authorities have taken against the free media.