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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Spanish Prosecutor Favors Extradition

MADRID, Spain — The chief prosecutor of Spain's High Court said he saw nothing that would prevent the extradition of Vladimir Gusinsky to Russia, a Spanish newspaper reported Thursday.

"The position of the prosecutors is clear. … He was sent to jail yesterday [Tuesday] because he is wanted for fraud involving a substantial amount," the prosecutor, Eduardo Fungairino, was quoted as saying in the daily El Pais.

"It's a question of a common crime and Russia is a democratic country that has signed the European convention on extradition," he added.

The Spanish High Court is not due to give its opinion on the case until early next year. A ruling in favor of extradition would have to be backed by an official High Court report and approved by the Spanish government.

Gusinsky was arrested in his luxury villa in southern Spain in the early hours of Tuesday in response to a Russian request to extradite him to face fraud charges.

Gusinsky's Media-MOST has been fiercely critical of the Kremlin and he told the Madrid court he was a victim of political persecution and that his alleged debts had been paid, a court source said.

"Gusinsky's lawyer is free to allege this is a political affair, but we should not take those allegations into account," Fungairino was quoted as saying.

Interpol said it had asked for clarification from its Moscow bureau that the warrant for Gusinsky's detention was not based on political grounds.

Russia now has 40 days to send Spain documentation to back its extradition request. That then needs to be translated and checked by the High Court before the request goes to ministers for approval. Only then will the court investigation begin and, once finished, its opinion will be returned to ministers for a final decision, against which Gusinsky cannot appeal