Lawyers for Media-Most founder Vladimir Gusinsky yesterday were given access to materials involved in the new criminal charges recently made against their client. Gusinsky has been charged with criminal wrongdoing on the basis of Article 174, Part 3 of Russian’s criminal code, which covers large-scale money laundering. The documents from the Prosecutor General’s Office stated that the previous charges, involving large-scale fraud, are still valid. They also confirmed that an international arrest order had been issued for Gusinsky and that he should be found and jailed (Radio Ekho Moskvy, May 10; Kommersant, May 11). Gusinsky, who is accused of having laundered some US$100 million, addressed the National Press Club in Washington earlier this month and is reportedly still in the United States. Prior to his address, the Prosecutor General’s Office issued an international warrant for his arrest through Interpol. Russia’s Foreign Ministry subsequently protested that the American authorities had not arrested the tycoon, along with the fact that Gusinsky had met with various U.S. officials. In response, the U.S. State Department noted that the United States and Russia had not concluded an extradition treaty, and claimed that the charges against Gusinsky were politically motivated (see the Monitor, May 7).
Meanwhile, Savik Shuster, the head of the Moscow bureau of the U.S. government funded station Radio Liberty, has reportedly been removed from his post for continuing to make regular appearances on a soccer discussion program on NTV television, which last month was taken over by the state-controlled Gazprom natural gas monopoly. There have been no official comments yet from Radio Liberty on Shuster’s reported removal (Polit.ru, Vedomosti, Kommersant, May 11).
PUTIN HINTS AT ESCALATION OF HOSTILITIES IN CHECHNYA.