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Court blow for Russian media baron

MOSCOW, Russia -- A Moscow court has reinstated a criminal fraud case against Russian media baron Vladimir Gusinsky.

The ruling overrules a lower court ruling that had thrown out the case, said prosecutor Alexander Gorbunov on Friday.

Gusinsky, 48, is in Spain, free on $5.5 million bail on an international arrest warrant pending hearings on whether to extradite him to Russia to face the charges.

He is accused of fraudulently securing millions of dollars in loans for his Media-Most empire.

Prosecutors challenged the lower court's ruling last month, saying the case was unfounded and must be dismissed.

Gusinsky was arrested by Spanish authorities in the southern beach resort of Sotogrande, near the city of Cadiz, on December 12, after Russia issued an international warrant.

His aides said the warrant was politically motivated because his NTV station criticised President Vladimir Putin's government.

Gazprom, the Russian natural gas monopoly last month withdrew its complaint against Media-Most, which it had accused of not complying with a loan agreement between the two companies.

The withdrawal of the complaint was considered to have weakened the Russian prosecutor's case.

Reuters contributed to this report.



RELATED STORIES:
Russian media boss bailed
December 22, 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
Russian media mogul loses grip on empire
November 17, 2000
Russian gas giant drops Gusinsky deal
November 14, 2000

RELATED SITES:
Media Most
NTV-INTERNATIONAL
GAZPROM Online
Russian Government

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