Vladimir Gusinsky is reportedly attempting to stop Russian state gas giant Gazprom from taking over his NTV television station at an extraordinary general meeting next month, by switching the location of the meeting to Gibraltar.

Gusinsky, who is currently in southern Spain pending an extradition request from Russia, said that the Gibraltar courts are less likely to accept Gazprom's authority. Gazprom has claimed an additional 19% stake in NTV, which was held as collateral against a loan to Gusinsky's embattled Media Most group, taking its overall interest in the station to a controlling 65%. The company plans to install its own directors at NTV at the forthcoming EGM.

Media Most was recently offered a helping hand from Gusinsky's rival, Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky. The unlikely champion claimed to be supporting freedom of speech with a contribution of $50m to pay off the group's debts. However the move was met with scepticism coming directly after Berezovsky essentially handed over his stake in broadcaster ORT to the state. Berezovsky sold his 49% share in ORT to oil and aluminium tycoon Roman Abramovitch for an undisclosed sum. Abramovitch promptly handed over control of the stake to the government which already owns 51% of ORT.

Abramovitch, who recently entered politics by being elected as a regional governor last month, has good relations with the Putin government. He controls oil major Sibneft and major industrial group Russian Aluminium both of which Berezovsky is said to have major if not controlling stakes in.

Berezovsky has also said he is planning to begin negotiations with Credit Suisse First Boston help find a solution to Media Most's $262m debt to Gazprom.

Meanwhile pressure on Media Most and NTV has intensified as Russian authorities have halted the activities of the Gusinsky connected Image-Bank which handles Media Most accounts. The move will starve the group of cash and could cause the closure of NTV and other media outlets of the group within days.