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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gusinsky to Appear in Spanish Court

MADRID, Spain - Detained Russian media magnate Vladimir Gusinsky is to appear Friday before a Spanish judge and his lawyers are optimistic he may be released from jail and placed under house arrest.

Gusinsky, wanted in his country on charges of fraud, was arrested in southern Spain last week on a warrant issued by Moscow. He is being held in a jail outside Madrid while Judge Baltazar Garzon considers a bail request from Gusinsky's lawyers. Moscow has asked for his extradition.

Gusinsky, who runs Media-Most media empire, the only one of Russia's three major networks that is not government-controlled, claims he is a victim of political persecution.

On Wednesday, Garzon processed a defense petition and asked police authorities whether they consider Gusinsky should be allowed leave jail but remain under house arrest.

One of his lawyers in Spain, Domingo Plazas Ruiz, said Thursday he was optimistic that Garzon will order house arrest when he meets Gusinsky Friday.

Also, referring to Gusinsky's recent petition for a mobile phone in prison, Plazas said: "Maybe that won't be necessary any longer."

If placed under house arrest, Gusinsky would most likely return under police escort to his family house in the wealthy residential area of Sotogrande, in the southern Spanish town of San Roque, where he was first arrested.

Garzon, meanwhile, will likely continue studying Russia's extradition request.

Russia denies it is out to crush Gusinsky and Media-Most, saying it supports media freedom and that it is merely trying to enforce financial laws and end impunity enjoyed by business barons when Boris Yeltsin was president.