Grammy-winning pianist held 'for molesting boy'

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The founder of the Russian National Orchestra has been arrested in Thailand on suspicion of paedophilia, Thai police said yesterday.

Mikhail Pletnev, a Grammy-winning pianist and composer, is accused of molesting one boy and appearing in compromising photographs with several others, according to Lt-Col Omsin Sukkanka.

The 53-year-old was arrested at an apartment in the beachside town of Pattaya and could face up to 20 years in jail and a fine of 40,000 baht (£800) if found guilty.

Mr Omsin said the pianist was arrested on Monday evening following a tip from Traipob Boonmasong, a Thai national who was charged with child molestation for his alleged involvement in a child prostitution ring. Police reportedly confiscated hundreds of files, pictures and videos of young boys, some alongside foreigners, from Mr Pletnev's home computer. Some of the photos allegedly show Mr Pletnev with the boys in compromising positions, said the officer.

A video on the Pattaya Daily News website showed officers entering Mr Pletnev's room and questioning him while he smokes a cigarette. It also shows a close-up shot of his Russian passport and an envelope containing CDs. Last night Mr Pletnev's manager, Thomas Jung, said he was not aware of the arrest.