Russian conductor bailed in Thai sex probe: consulate

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Famed Russian conductor Mihkail Pletnev has been released on bail after Thai police searched his home in Thailand as part of a probe into paedophilia, the Russian consulate said Tuesday.

Pletnev, artistic director of the acclaimed Russian National Orchestra, was released on bail after the search in the Thai resort of Pattaya, Russian consular official in Thailand Andrei Dvornikov told RIA Novosti.

"The police informed Pletnev that some Thai citizens who had been arrested for paedophilia and producing child porn had given evidence against him," Dvornikov said.

"The police conducted a search together with Pletnev of his house, where nothing suspicious was found," he added, saying Pletnev was currently at his home in Thailand.

The consul added that Pletnev, 53, and his Thai lawyer would on Wednesday go to court to ask permission for the conductor to leave the country so he can take part in his orchestra's forthcoming tours.

He could not name the sum that had been posted to obtain his bail. Russian news website said he had been arrested at a local restaurant named "Euro Club" in the resort.

Russian news sites published videos apparently released by Thai police of the searches being conducted in Pletnev's home and even of his passport.

Pletnev initially shot to fame as a virtuoso pianist, winning the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1978 at the age of 21.

But in the early 1980s he started conducting and in recent years gave up piano concerts in favour of his increasingly in-demand conducting activities.

His recordings with the RNO of the Russian classics, notably symphonies by Tchaikovsky and Rakhmaninov, have been hailed by critics as all time greats.

He is a member of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's advisory council on culture and art and in 2005 won a Grammy award for best chamber music performance.

Viola player Yuri Bashmet, another Russian musician who grew up through the Soviet system to become an international classical star, said he was "in shock" at the news.

"If it is true then he will have to answer according to the law," Bashmet told Komsomolskaya Pravda.

© 2010 AFP

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