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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

City Court Throws Out Charges Against Gusinsky

A Moscow court has ruled that the fraud charges against media tycoon Vladimir Gusinsky have no basis and the case should be closed, but federal prosecutors have appealed the ruling.

Gusinsky, 48, is under house arrest in southern Spain while Spanish authorities consider Russia's request to extradite him. The outcome of the court battle could determine his fate.

Federal prosecutors have accused Gusinsky of defrauding Gazprom by using "nonexistent assets" in obtaining loans totaling $473 million for his Media-MOST holding.

However, Media-MOST and Gazprom have recently reached an out-of-court settlement under which Gazprom will receive shares in Gusinsky's media companies. Gazprom has dropped its suits against Media-MOST.

On the basis of this settlement, Judge Yelizaveta Slepova of the court in Moscow's Tverskoi district dismissed the case against Gusinsky on Dec. 23.

Click here to read our special report on the Struggle for Media-MOST.As part of the arrangement for repayment of Media-MOST's debt to Gazprom, the two companies are negotiating the sale of some of the media holding's assets to a foreign investor. Media-MOST includes NTV television and the Segodnya daily.

Some U.S. investors are considering buying into NTV and plan to pitch their proposal to President Vladimir Putin, Reuters reported, citing an unidentified source close to the proposed deal.

The source did not disclose the name of the U.S. company, which he said wanted to buy a 25 percent stake in NTV both as a profitable investment and to support press freedom in Russia.

The source said the U.S. company "is going to be a very, very famous name. It has the best reputation."

The Prosecutor General's Office was swift to appeal Slepova's ruling, arguing that the case is out of the Tverskoi court's jurisdiction, Interfax reported.

The appeal is set to be heard by the Moscow City Court on Friday.

If the court rejects the appeal, the prosecutor's office will have to revoke the warrant for Gusinsky's arrest, according to Kommersant. The prosecutor's office could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

In a decision that Segodnya believes could influence the City Court's decision, Putin last Friday replaced the court's acting chairman, Alexei Korzhikov, with Korzhikov's deputy, Olga Yegorova.

Gusinsky was arrested by Spanish police at the request of Russian prosecutors. He was allowed to leave jail Dec. 23 after posting bail of $5.5 million.