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DATE=6/14/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=RUSSIA / ARREST (L-UPDATE) NUMBER=2-263483 BYLINE=OWEN FAY DATELINE=MOSCOW CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: The Russian government has been spending much of the day/Wednesday denying that the arrest of a high-profile media tycoon was politically motivated. It is widely understood that the Kremlin has been unhappy with Vladimir Gusinsky and his organisation, leading many to think his arrest is part of a media crackdown. From Moscow, Owen Fay has this report. TEXT: Vladimir Gusinsky, whose publications and radio and television stations are often critical of the Kremlin, was taken to a Moscow jail on Tuesday night on suspicion of embezzling up to 10 million dollars. His supporters were quick to denounce his detention as being politically motivated. /// OPT /// Mr. Guzinsky heads a company called Media-MOST, which in turn controls the television station N-T-V, the only privately run station in Russia. N-T-V is known for being highly critical of the government, particularly over the war in Chechnya, and that is leading to the charges of intimidation (by the government). /// END OPT /// President Putin, speaking in Madrid, Spain where he is on an official visit, said he knew nothing of the arrest. /// PUTIN ACTUALITY IN RUSSIAN, FADE UNDER /// "I'm on business meetings," President Putin said, "so I won't touch any, if they even exist, of the political aspects of that case." He went on to say, "I simply don't know anything about it." However, President Putin later denied Mr. Guzinsky had been arrested because his news organisations have angered the Kremlin. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov also dismissed fears of a media crackdown by saying there must have been serious grounds to justify taking Mr. Guzinsky into custody. /// KASYANOV ACTUALITY IN RUSSIAN, FADE UNDER /// "According to the law," said Mr. Kasyanov, "an arrest like this is carried out only in exclusive cases," and he added, "I think that the Prosecutor's Office must have thought twice before making their decision." Last month, heavily armed masked paramilitaries - under the direction of the Russian government's intelligence service - raided Mr. Gusinsky's headquarters in what was widely seen as an act of intimidation, and later ruled illegal in court. After the raid, a media watchdog group was set up to protect press freedoms. It is chaired by Mikhail Gorbachev, the former president of the Soviet Union. He says the arrest is not only an attack on the media, but an attempt to embarrass President Putin: /// GORBACHEV ACTUALITY IN RUSSIAN, FADE UNDER /// "I think it's not only an effort to step on the throat of a free press," Mr. Gorbachev said, "but it's also an effort to strike the President who just started serious and very difficult reforms." Masha Lipmann is the editor of the news magazine Itogi - one of Mr. Gusinsky's publications. She says that Mr. Gorbachev's theory is nonsense, and that in order to understand why an independent Russian media tycoon would be arrested without charge, it is not necessary to look any further than Vladimir Putin: /// LIPMANN ACTUALITY - IN ENGLISH /// I think he is a no-nonsense man, and I think he cares about having his goals implemented. And if freedom of the press gets in his way, he will crack down on the freedom of the press and I don't think he will hesitate. ///END ACT/// Mr. Gusinsky's company also owns the radio station Echo Moskvy, which is the same station that hosted a live call-in show with President Clinton during his recent visit to Russia. (Signed) NEB/OF/GE/KL 14-Jun-2000 13:55 PM EDT (14-Jun-2000 1755 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .