Moscow, 15 December 2000 (RFE/RL) - Russian tax authorities have asked a court to liquidate several key outlets of the Media-MOST group for insolvency. No details are available at this time. Yevgeny Kiselov, the head of Media-MOST's independent NTV television network, said that through this measure the authorities aimed to "liquidate NTV and the last vestiges of Russian democracy."
NTV has been openly critical of President Vladimir Putin. Russian authorities have charged Media-MOST head Vladimir Gusinsky with fraud. He was arrested in Spain earlier this week at Russia's request and is still being held in custody there awaiting an extradition request.
Gusinsky's supporters say the charges against him are instigated by his political opponents. But the chief prosecutor of Spain's highest court yesterday was quoted as saying he saw nothing that would prevent Gusinky's extradition to Russia.
Earlier today, a spokesman for Russia's prosecutor-general said prosecutors are preparing a request for the seizure of Gusinsky's foreign assets.