Embattled Russian media giant Media Most Group has reached what it described as an "amicable agreement" with its chief creditor, state gas giant Gazprom. While details are not yet available the deal would also involve bringing on board an unnamed foreign investor according to a spokeswoman for the group.
The agreement, which has yet to be signed, was announced at a Moscow court last week which was to consider a suit brought by Gazprom against the group. Media Most owes $473m to Gazprom which alleged that the group has transferred assets offshore to avoid paying its debts.
Media Most chief Vladimir Gusinsky was arrested on charges of fraud earlier this year, and although the charges were later dropped, he claimed that the company's problems stem from a government-backed attempt to stifle freedom of the press. A Media Most spokesperson said that the agreement guaranteed the independence of journalists working for the group
Gusinsky had previously agreed to hand over control of the group to Gazprom in exchange for the cancellation of its debts and a guarantee of his personal freedom. But he later said the deal was invalid because he was under undue pressure when he signed it.
Under the new deal control of the group would be handed over to Gazprom only to be resold to a foreign investor at a later date. Gazprom has said it has held negotiations with a major foreign media group but so far no one has been named.