Pletnev alleges ?set-up? after charges
20th Jul 2010
Gig news staff
Russian conductor Mikhail Pletnev has protested his innocence after being charged with child molestation in Thailand. The 53-year-old artistic director of the Russian National Orchestra (RNO) was released from Thai custody after posting bail, in order to tour with the orchestra.
At a press conference before the RNO’s performance at the Ohrid Summer Festival in Macedonia, Pletnev said the whole affair was ‘a set-up’: ‘A big company wants to present me as a criminal, which I am not,’ he told journalists, though he declined to go further. ‘I have done a lot of good things in Thailand, which inhabitants there could tell about.’
Pletnev had previously dismissed the allegations while in Moscow, en route to Macedonia. ‘Maybe somebody does not like my work; maybe somebody is jealous of it,’ he suggested to reporters, while stating he had received ‘no official papers’ regarding the charges. Under the conditions of his bail, the conductor is obliged to report back to the court every 12 days.
Pletnev, who founded the RNO in 1990, is a frequent visitor to Thailand, owning several businesses including a restaurant and a badminton club. He also owns a large residential compound in the resort town of Pattaya. He was detained by Thai police following a tip from Traipob Boonmasong, a Thai national who was himself allegedly involved in a child prostitution ring.
The Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana has suspended its collaboration with Pletnev as a guest conductor until the matter is resolved. According to a statement, if he is not acquitted of all charges by the autumn, the orchestra will begin finding alternatives for his upcoming engagements.
- On 21 July, Pletnev issued a statement denying the allegations and revealing that 'during the police search of my home, nothing connected with the allegations – no photographs or other visual material - was found in the computer'. He also denied reports that he was a full-time resident in Thailand, or that he had ever 'run any form of music school in Thailand. Given the very short periods I am in Thailand, I frankly do not understand how this could be possible.'