The Interior Ministry has threatened former Mayor Yury Luzhkov with reprisals if he fails to show up for questioning as part of a probe into an alleged $430 million bank fraud.
The ministry said Friday that it had agreed to postpone questioning scheduled for that day until his return from abroad, but signaled it could issue a warrant for his arrest if he failed to show up for interrogation as a witness.
The ministry made a similar warning to Luzhkov's billionaire wife, Yelena Baturina, saying she has ignored previous summons. Baturina insisted that she had received no summons, Interfax reported.
Luzhkov described the probe as punishment for his criticism of President Dmitry Medvedev, and said he would return to prove his innocence.