Gusinsky’s associate arrested

Mikhail Mirilashvili, a business associate of Russian media tycoon Vladimir Gusinsky and deputy president of the country's Jewish Congress, has been arrested on kidnapping charges, prosecutors said Wednesday. Mirilashvili, a director of Saint Petersburg-based television channel Russkoye Video recently purchased by Gusinsky, was arrested in Russia's second city of Saint Petersburg on Tuesday, a prosecutor's office spokesman told a France Press correspondent. The arrest was not directly linked to a long-running investigation into Gusinsky's business affairs, the spokesman added. Mr. Mirilashvili had been residing in Israel, and came to Russia as part of a delegation of visiting Israeli President Moshe Katsav, news reports said. Separately, ITAR-TASS reports that Mr. Mirilashvili is further suspected of either organizing or taking part in three Russian murders, and has developed a reputation as a prominent Saint Petersburg mafia boss.

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