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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Barak: Gusinsky Should Emigrate to Israel

BERLIN, Germany - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak says Vladimir Gusinsky, the media tycoon facing fraud charges in Russia, should emigrate to Israel once he is released, according to a report Tuesday.

Gusinsky, currently under house arrest in Spain pending possible extradition to Russia, would be welcome in Israel, Deutsche Welle radio said, citing an interview with Barak.

"I'll do everything I can so that Gusinsky can come home to Israel," the station quoted Barak as saying. "I have already spoken with the Spanish prime minister about this."

Barak and other Israeli leaders have called on Russia to reconsider its pursuit of Gusinsky, who is head of the Russian Jewish Congress and a senior official of the World Jewish Congress.

The Israeli leader said the owner of Russia's largest independent television company was a "personal friend." Gusinsky holds Russian and Israeli citizenship.

Russian prosecutors say Gusinsky misrepresented his company's assets to win $300 million in loan guarantees in 1996 from Russia's natural gas monopoly Gazprom.

Gusinsky has denied any wrongdoing and said the case against him was spun together as retribution for criticism of the government on NTV television and in other media he owns.

He was released on a $5.5 million bail last month, and is now under house arrest at a villa in southern Spain.

Deutsche Welle said Barak, speaking from Jerusalem on the station's Russian service, appealed to all Jews living in the former Soviet Union to come to Israel.

Barak is seeking re-election Feb. 6. Immigrants from Russia and other former Soviet states are a key voter group.