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Russian media boss bailed

MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- Russian media mogul Vladimir Gusinsky is being released from jail by Spanish authorities on $5.5 million bail.

Judge Baltasar Garzon made the decision after a 15-minute hearing at which Gusinsky appeared with his lawyers.

Gusinsky was arrested after Russia issued an international warrant on allegations that he fraudulently secured millions of dollars in loans for his Media-Most empire.

His aides have said the arrest was politically motivated because his NTV station has been critical of President Vladimir Putin's government.

Garzon ordered Gusinsky must stay at his luxury villa in southern Spain while waiting for his extradition hearing to be completed.

A clerk at the Madrid court told CNN it was unlikely Gusinsky would leave the Soto del Real prison near Madrid for several days because of the time needed to set up the arrangements.

He said the $5.5 million bail would have to be posted with the court and Spanish police would have to say they are ready to carry out Judge Garzon's orders.

Gusinsky, 48, was arrested by Spanish authorities in the southern beach resort of Sotogrande, near the city of Cadiz, on December 12.

On Thursday, Gazprom, the Russian natural gas monopoly withdrew its complaint against Media-Most, which it had accused of not complying with a loan agreement between the two companies. That was considered to have weakened the Russian prosecutor's case.



RELATED STORIES:
Gorbachev: Russian reforms threatened
December 17, 2000
Russia threatens Gusinsky media empire
December 15, 2000
Gusinsky: Media baron of the East
December 12, 2000
Russian media magnate arrested
December 13, 2000
Fresh arrest warrant issued for Russian tycoon
December 4, 2000

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