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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russian Prosecutors Win Appeal Against Gusinsky

A Moscow city court on Friday overturned a lower court's ruling which had temporarily halted a criminal case against Russian media tycoon Vladimir Gusinsky, a spokeswoman for his company said.

The court's decision means Russian prosecutors' can proceed with a probe into alleged fraud by Gusinsky, owner of Russia's largest independent television company.

Friday's ruling is an apparent setback to Gusinsky, who is under house arrest in Spain awaiting extradition proceedings initiated by Russian authorities.

The ruling Friday means the extradition request will remain in force.

The media baron's lawyers in Moscow had earlier protested the fraud investigation in a lower court, and won a ruling Dec. 26 that the case was unsubstantiated. But Russian prosecutors quickly appealed that decision, saying the court had no jurisdiction over investigators's work.

A spokeswoman for Media-Most, a holding company for Gusinsky's media assets, said the Moscow city court which ruled Friday was biased and made its decision under pressure from the government.

"Unfortunately we could see this decision coming," said spokeswoman Elena Bruni. "We saw what pressure the authorities are putting on our legal system in our case."

"We will appeal to the Supreme Court. We are not satisfied with these results," she said. The judges committed several procedural errors, and did not address the key issue of whether the investigation was justified, she said.

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 wrongdoing and said the case against him was spun together as retribution for criticism of the government broadcast on NTV television and in other media his company owns. Gusinsky was released on a $5.5 million bail on Dec. 22, and is now living at a villa in southern Spain.