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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Israel Closes Gusinsky Case

JERUSALEM -- Israeli prosecutors have dropped a money-laundering investigation against businessman Vladimir Gusinsky due to lack of evidence, the Israeli Justice Ministry said.

Gusinsky, who has lived in the Jewish state, was questioned as part of an investigation opened last year into the suspected laundering of millions of dollars at Bank Hapoalim, Israel's largest bank. He had no comment on the allegations at the time.

The former media baron was forced to surrender ownership of the debt-laden independent NTV television channel in 2001 and fled Russia amid fraud allegations. That investigation is widely seen as punishment for NTV's critical coverage of Putin.

Israeli police last year raided a branch of Bank Hapoalim whose 200 clients included Gusinsky, self-exiled Yukos co-owner Leonid Nevzlin, Russian businessman Arkady Gaidamak and Israel's ambassador to Britain, Zvi Heifetz, who once worked for Gusinsky, Israeli media reported at the time. Investigators suspected several clients and bank employees of violating the rules for reporting large transactions in order to launder money, police said.

Police also searched Gusinsky's offices in Tel Aviv as part of the investigation, Israeli media reported.