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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Prosecutors Call In TV6 Chair for Questioning

The Prosecutor General's Office said Wednesday it had summoned Badri Patarkatsishvili, chairman of TV6 television and Boris Berezovsky's right-hand man, for questioning in the attempted escape of a suspect in a high-profile corruption case.

Prosecutors have suggested that Patarkatsishvili and Berezovsky helped arrange the attempt in April by former Aeroflot executive Nikolai Glushkov to flee detention. Glushkov had been jailed on charges of embezzling from Aeroflot and was undergoing treatment in a Moscow clinic for blood disease when he tried to leave. His attorney says he wasn't trying to escape but was set up by security services.

The prosecutor's office said in a statement Wednesday that Patarkatsishvili had ignored previous summons and suggested he could face arrest if he doesn't appear for questioning this time.

TV6 is a second-tier television network that has absorbed many journalists and programs from NTV television since it was taken over by state-connected natural-gas giant Gazprom in April.

The journalists who fled NTV called the takeover a drive by the Kremlin to stifle criticism, but Gazprom said it was just trying to clean up the television station's finances.

TV6 officials would not comment on the summons Wednesday. Berezovsky controls the station and Patarkatsishvili was named chairman last month.

Until last year, Patarkatsishvili ran finances at ORT television, when Berezovsky owned 49 percent of the channel.

Berezovsky has denied any involvement in Glushkov's alleged escape attempt.

Glushkov, former first deputy director of Aeroflot, and other executives are accused of funneling $970 million in Aeroflot revenue to two Swiss firms founded by Berezovsky, Forus Services and Andava.

Both Glushkov and Berezovsky deny the charges.

Berezovsky refused to show up for questioning and has been in self-imposed exile in France for months.

In an interview published Wednesday in Izvestia daily, Berezovsky said his sale of the stake in ORT earlier this year was not voluntary.

"I was forced in a very cruel manner to part with the portfolio that I owned and with the influence I had on this channel's policy," Berezovsky was quoted as saying.

As for the move of NTV journalists to TV6, Berezovsky said he has given a new home to the country's most professional television team.

He said he hoped that with the investment of tens of millions of dollars he would be able to turn TV6 into a profitable business.

He said he has been a politician and not a businessman since 1995, when he became a shareholder of ORT. Now, he said, he is serious about building a "real opposition party that will be fighting for power."

The party, he said, will "combine ideas of liberalism with ideas of patriotism."

(AP, MT)