Pianist Pletnev returns to Russia, says Thai pedophilia charges wrong

Picture taken on May 12, 2010 shows Famed Russian conductor Mikhail Pletnev conducting a concert in Moscow (AFP Photo / Kommersant / Dmitry Lekay)
Mikhail Pletnev, a pianist and the chief conductor of the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra returned to Moscow from Thailand on Thursday and has told press that he did not commit any of the crimes he has been charged with.

A large group of reporters met Pletnev in Moscow’s Domodedovo airport. The pianist said that the crimes he is being charged with in Thailand could never take place.

“The first time they searched my house, they found nothing. Later, I found reports on the internet that I am facing charges of prostitution and distribution of pornography and that I had presumably committed rape. I am against violence. This could never happen. As for the records, they could only find audio and video recordings of my concerts,” RIA Novosti news agency quoted Pletnev as saying.

The pianist also said that he was planning to return to Thailand by July 18, as ordered by the court. At the same time, he expressed hope that the incident would not affect his concert tour that starts on July 9.

Pletnev was charged with rape and pedophilia in Thailand on July 6, but was released and allowed to leave the country after paying a $9000 bail and pledging to appear at subsequent court hearings. Thai police say their suspicions are based on the testimony of one of Pletnev’s friends, a Thai national, who himself is currently on trial for sex crimes; and a report from a 14-year-old Thai boy who claims Pletnev had raped him twice.

If convicted, the Russian pianist could face up to 20 years in a Thai prison.