Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Police Detain Vice President of Russian Jewish Congress

Russian police have arrested the vice president of a prominent Russian Jewish organization on charges of kidnapping, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office said Wednesday.

The arrest was politically charged because the man detained, Mikhail Mirilashvilli, is a business associate of media tycoon Vladimir Gusinsky, who has been charged with fraud.

Along with Gusinsky, Mirilashvili also ran the Russian Jewish Congress. Gusinsky was president of the group, one of two main national Jewish organizations in Russia.

Agents of Russia's Federal Security Service detained Mirilashvilli on Tuesday evening at his apartment in St. Petersburg, said prosecutor spokesman Leonid Troshin in Moscow.

He said Mirilashvilli was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping two people and said the arrest was not linked to any legal actions pending against Gusinsky.

Mirilashvilli owned casinos and other businesses in St. Petersburg, NTV television news reported.

He was also president of Russian Video, a St. Petersburg business affiliated with Gusinsky's media company and the target of an investigation by prosecutors, according to the Interfax news agency.

Gusinsky was briefly arrested last summer in a case alleging theft of state property at Russian Video. After his release, he left Russia.

Gusinsky has said the charges against him are politically motivated as retaliation for critical coverage of President Vladimir Putin in his media outlets. He is under house arrest in Spain fighting an extradition request from Russia.

He is charged with fraud in receiving loan guarantees from Russian natural gas monopoly Gazprom in 1996.