Thailand allows Russian pianist on child sex charge to leave

A famed Russian pianist and conductor who is accused of raping a teenage boy in a Thai resort has been allowed to leave the country and prepare for a forthcoming concert appearance.

A court in the coastal town of Pattaya granted bail to Mikhail Pletnev and gave him permission to fly to Europe, as long he returns within the next 12 days.

Police said the 53-year-old musician, who has several properties in the resort, has denied the allegations and intends to return to Thailand to defend himself.

The arrest of the conductor of the Russian National Orchestra earlier this week is just the latest in a series of high-profile cases in Thailand involving allegations of paedophilia. Mr Pletnev faces up to 20 years in jail if he is convicted of the charges.

"We expect him to come back given that he is famous and that he claims that he is innocent. And since he has hired a legal team, we expect him to come back to fight the case," said Lt-Colonel Omsin Sukkankaa, a police spokesman.

The musician, who in 2005 won a Grammy award for his arrangement of Prokofiev's Cinderella, is due to lead his orchestra in a summer music festival in Macedonia next week.

Reports say the organisers of the event in the town of Ohrid expect Mr Pletnev and his fellow musicians to participate and that the allegations will be countered with a defence of mistaken identity.

Yet not everyone approves of the decision by the court to allow the high-profile conductor bail of $9,000 (£6,000) and permission to fly out of Thailand.

"Why the judge let him go is a question that has struck in many of our hearts. There are some questions that need to be answered," said Supagon Noja of the Child Protection and Development Centre, a Pattaya-based non-governmental organisation.

Thailand has long carried a reputation as a destination for sex tourists and paedophiles because of a repeated failure by the authorities to enforce laws. Pattaya, located 90 miles from the capital, Bangkok, has for decades been notorious for its nightlife and prostitution.

Police said Mr Pletnev was arrested while he was eating dinner following a tip-off from a Thai national, Traipob Boonmasong, who had himself been charged with child rape and involvement in a child-prostitution ring.

Colonel Omsin said the evidence against the musician, who owns a restaurant and a club in Pattaya, include a statement from a 14-year-old boy who claims he was twice raped by him in Mr Traipob's house. They also discovered photographs of Mr Pletnev, who has lived in Thailand for the past 15 years, in so-called "compromising situations" with other young boys.

"The boy said he had lived in Traipob's house for a year and was raped by Pletnev twice," said Colonel Omsin. "The first time was in the middle of last year and the second time was early this year."

The conductor is a member of the Russian President's advisory board on culture and holds the title of "people's artist", the highest such award for people working in the arts.

He has denied all of the allegations against him. He has said his dealings with Mr Traipob were connected to the care for his Pattaya properties when he was on the road, and that he had no knowledge about the man's alleged involvement in a child-sex ring.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Technician - 1st Line

£19000 - £21000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPOR...

SQL Developer - Cardiff - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer - C...

English Teacher (Maternity Cover Leave)

£100 - £160 per day + Mileage & Expenses: Randstad Education Leeds: A great sc...

Special Needs Teaching Assistant

£50 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Special Educational Needs Teach...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London