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19 Jul, 2010 07:55

Russian conductor protests his innocence in Thai court

Celebrated Russian pianist and conductor Mikhail Pletnev appeared in a Thai court to once again deny charges of pedophilia brought against him by local authorities.

Pletnev is being charged with molestation on the grounds of testimonies of several local residents and a report from the 14-year-old claiming he was twice raped by the conductor. Pletnev himself says he was detained after a local musician he knows was arrested for pedophilia and production of child pornography.

The pianist was detained on July 5 but then released and allowed to leave the country after paying a $9000 bail. He pledged to appear at subsequent court hearings.

Under Thai law, the conductor has to appear in court every 12 days while the investigation into his case is ongoing. On Monday the court prolonged Pletnev’s release on bail. If found guilty, the Russian conductor faces up to 20 years in prison.

“Some mass media, authorities and others expressed an opinion that I would never go back to Thailand again. I hope now everybody sees that I am an honest person, a man of his word,” said Russian musician.

"I say again these allegations are not true. Despite the reports by some media, I state that when the police searched my house, they found nothing connected with these allegations. No pictures, no other visual material were found on my computer,” reads Pletnev’s statement released on Monday.

According to Andrey Dvornikov, Head of the Consular Department of the Russian embassy in Thailand, Pletnev is currently in the country and will be able to leave only if he proves to the court that it is necessary, reports news agency Interfax. Previously the musician was released so that he could take part in his scheduled concerts.

Dvornikov also emphasized that if necessary the Russian embassy is ready to confirm that Pletnev has to participate in a concert tour.