An award-winning Russian pianist and conductor has been charged in Thailand with raping a boy.
Mikhail Pletnev, artistic director of the Russian National Orchestra, has been released on bail and given permission to leave the country temporarily.
Police searched the 53 year old’s house in the Thai resort of Pattaya and confiscated pictures, after arresting him earlier in a restaurant.
Evidence had been given against the musician suggesting he had molested a 14 year old Thai boy and appeared in compromising photos with several others.
The rape charge carries a maximum 20 year jail sentence. Moscow is reported to have ordered its embassy in Bangkok to help the musician urgently. The Russian Culture ministry has said it is extremely concerned.
Pletnev first shot to fame as a virtuoso pianist, winning the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1978.
He appeared in court to ask permission to leave the country to take part in his orchestra’s forthcoming tours.