Thai court extends bail for Russian on child rape charges

A Pattaya court in Thailand has added another 12 days to the bail release term of a Russian musician charged with pedophilia so that he can follow his international tour schedule.

Mikhail Pletnev, a famous Russian piano player and conductor, arrived at the court of the city of Pattaya with his attorney Monday, and left 15 minutes later after paying bail and signing the necessary papers.

Pletnev, who owns a house in Pattaya, was accused in July of raping a local 14-year-old boy. He has denied the charges, saying police had found nothing in his house to prove the allegations.

If the court finds Pletnev guilty, he could face up to 20 years in jail.

According to the Thai laws, the investigation is to last 84 days, and every 12 days the suspect is to renew his bail-release term. Pletnev has already been allowed out of the country to give concerts in Macedonia and Poland.

“It looks like I will have to ask the court one more time to temporarily allow me to leave the country and grant me another several days’ prolongation above the usual 12 days, because my working schedule requires that… I will return by the date set by the court,” Pletnev said Monday as he left the court building.

This August, Pletnev, the founder and conductor of the Russian National Orchestra, has shows scheduled in Spain, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Earlier the Grammy-winner cancelled two performances in London and Edinburgh because, he said, he did not want the matter to “overshadow” the concerts. Conductor Andrey Boreiko had to stand in to replace him.