NEWS

Gusinsky freed on 100,000-euro bail

A Russian former media baron arrested in Greece last week on an international warrant was released yesterday on bail of 100,000 euros. Vladimir Gusinsky, 51, exchanged the Korydallos Prison cell where he had been held since Monday – following his arrest at the Eleftherios Venizelos Airport last Thursday – for an Athens hotel room after paying the bail. Under the terms of his release, ordered by the Council of Appeals Court Judges, Gusinsky will not be allowed to leave Greece until the murky question of his extradition to Russia is settled. The businessman, an Israeli passport holder and senior figure in the World Jewish Congress, is sought on charges of fraud involving $250 million. Moscow says it wants him extradited but has yet to table an official request, prompting speculation that the Russians may not be over-eager to get him back. Gusinsky, who lost his media holdings in 2000, angered Kremlin officials with his NTV network’s negative coverage of Russia’s Chechen war. He claims the charges are politically motivated, a view shared by the USA and Israel, which are pressing Athens not to extradite him.