Vladimir Gusinsky

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Vladimir Aleksandrovich Gusinsky (Russian: Влади́мир Алекса́ндрович Гуси́нский [vlɐˈdʲimʲɪr ɐlʲɪˈksandrəvʲɪt͡ɕ ɡʊˈsʲinskʲɪ]; born 6 October 1952) is a Russian media tycoon. He is known as the founder of the Media-Most holding company that included Most Bank, the NTV[1] channel, the newspaper Segodnya and magazines.

Life and career[edit]

Gusinsky was born in Moscow.

Alexander Korzhakov, former Chief of the Russian President's security service, told journalists that Boris Berezovsky had tried to talk him into assassinating Vladimir Gusinsky, the long-time Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, singer and Duma deputy Joseph Kobzon, and others (Novy Vzglyad newspaper, 19 October 1996).[2][3]

On 13 June 2000, Gusinsky was arrested on charges of stealing property worth more than $10 million from the state-owned "Russian Video" company, but three days later was released on bail. The case was halted and Gusinsky flew to Spain. On 17 September 2000, the Prosecutor General's Office filed another case alleging the embezzlement of $300 million from OAO Gazprom. On 17 November 2000 prosecutors reopened the first criminal case against Gusinsky. An international arrest warrant was issued through Interpol, and on 12 December 2000 Gusinsky was arrested in Spain.

According to the Spanish daily El País, Gusinsky told the four Spanish policemen who came to arrest him at his home in the luxury Atlantic resort of Sotogrande: "You are making a big mistake. You don't know who I am, I'm a friend of Bill Clinton's."[4] On 22 December Gusinsky was again released, after bail of 1 billion pesetas ($5.5 million) was lodged.

His defence team including lawyer Pavel Astakhov claimed that the charges were politically motivated, and on 24 April 2001 the Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon declined to extradite Gusinsky to Russia. Later, Gusinsky was stripped of his Russian citizenship.

After moving abroad in 2001 Gusinsky created the satellite TV broadcasting company RTVi, which portrays events in Russia as presented by the TV network Echo's journalists. The related web site newsru.com carries textual, photographic, and video news from Russia.

On 23 August 2003, Gusinsky travelled from Israel to Athens, where he was arrested under a Greek-Russian treaty for fraud amounting to millions in damages.[5] Intense pressure from American leaders (mainly from US ambassador in Athens Tomas Miller), Israeli officials and the European Jewish Congress on the Greek government led to Gusinsky's release within five days.[6]

In May 2004 the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the actions taken against Gusinski by the Russian government were in breach of Sections 5 and 18 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.[7]

According to the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews,[8] Gusinsky was a very close friend of US Congressman Tom Lantos.

He holds dual Israeli and Spanish citizenship and often resides in Spain.

Gusinsky had a shareholding in Hapoel Tel Aviv basketball team for a period of three and a half years, acquiring 60% of the team in November 2000.

Gusinsky created NTV, the first independent TV channel in Russia. The emergence of 'NTV+', an offshoot from NTV channel, was a groundbreaking event for Russian media. NTV+ was the first satellite channel ever to broadcast in the former USSR. Gusinsky now owns the RTVi television channel and significant amount of other media assets in United States and Russia, including movie production companies, Internet portal com, radio and television stations.

Until November 2008, Gusinsky held 27% of the shares in the prominent Israeli newspaper Maariv, which he exchanged with Bank Hapolaim to settle a $28 million debt to the bank.[9]

Gusinsky and fellow Russian businessmen Konstantin Kagalovsky[10] launched on 17 March 2008 a Ukrainian TV station TVi.[11] They split due to a business dispute and Kagalovsky controls and continues to fund TVi on his own.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Profile: Vladimir Gusinsky - CNN". cnn.com. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "BEREZOVSKY, BORIS ABRAMOVICH". Russia: guardian-psj.ru. 2007/2010. Archived from the original on 2010-01-29.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ "Letter "B"". Book Review. america-russia.net. 2011-10-04. Archived from the original on 2011-10-04. 
  4. ^ Lannin, Patrick; Hayley, Julia (14 December 2000). "Will Russia get Gusinsky?". News24. Retrieved 7 March 2012. 
  5. ^ BBC news article on arrest of Gusinsky
  6. ^ eNet article on arrest
  7. ^ European Court of Human Rights, Gusinskiy v. Russia
  8. ^ FSU Monitor article on Lantos and Gusinsky
  9. ^ "Maariv editors in chief quit over budget discords". Haaretz. 12 May 2009. 
  10. ^ a b Oligarchs strengthen grip over TV. Kyiv Post, 19 August 2011
  11. ^ (Ukrainian) Про нас, TVi official website

External links[edit]