MADRID — Hopes are rising that Spain will refuse Moscow’s request to extradite Russian media magnate Vladimir Gusinsky on fraud charges.
Citing “judicial sources,” two press reports claimed Tuesday that magistrates on Spain’s National Court of Criminal Justice have privately decided to dismiss the case.
According to top Spanish dailies El Mundo and El Pais, the court will rule that the charges brought against Gusinsky are not criminal offenses in Spain and thus do not merit extradition.
El Mundo predicts the court will officially throw out the charges “in a matter of days” by a vote of two magistrates to one.
If that happens, Spain’s public prosecutor Eduardo Fungairino may appeal the decision.
Accused of fraud
Gusinsky was arrested in Spain on an international warrant Dec. 13 after a Russian prosecutor accused him of fraud. The Media-Most topper was released on bail of $5.5 million bail Monday pending the court’s decision.
The Russian government accuses Gusinsky of presenting falsified company information to get a loan from state-controlled utility Gazprom. Gusinsky made a late repayment on the loan, which was also authorized at the time by structures within Russia’s Central Bank.
Pressure from Russia’s prosecutors on Gusinsky’s Media-Most conglom shows no signs of abating — the company headquarters were searched again on Tuesday. Gusinsky’s supporters in Moscow believe the search was a direct response to rumors from Madrid that Spain would not endorse Russia’s extradition request.