MOSCOW — Russian prosecutors on Tuesday accused media mogul Vladimir Gusinsky of laundering $97 million and said they wanted a new international arrest warrant for him, despite failing to extradite him from Spain on other charges.
Gusinsky’s spokesman Dmitry Ostalsky dismissed the new charges as another twist in a Kremlin-orchestrated campaign to silence a critic. The situation has sparked international concern about press freedoms under President Vladimir Putin.
Spain’s High Court ruled last week that charges filed by Moscow against Gusinsky constituted no crime under Spanish law, and Monday it lifted travel restrictions.
Leonid Troshin, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, said the Media-Most topper had been charged with laundering 2.8 billion rubles ($97 million) connected with loans from state-dominated gas giant Gazprom, which became majority shareholder of his NTV television station in a boardroom coup.
He said prosecutors had already notified Interpol that they were seeking a new international arrest warrant against Gusinsky after widening the charges against him.
Gusinsky was expected to fly to Israel, where he has citizenship, on Tuesday, according to his Spanish lawyer, Domingo Plazas.