MOSCOW (AP) _ Media tycoon Vladimir Gusinsky, whose arrest and imprisonment sparked harsh criticism that the Kremlin was cracking down on the free press, was released from jail Friday evening, the Interfax news agency reported.

The report cited the prosecutor-general's office. The office could not immediately be released for confirmation.

The report said Gusinsky was released upon giving a written pledge not to leave the country. That indicated the charges against him of swindling and theft had not been dropped.

Gusinsky, the head of the Media-Most holding company that includes some of Russia's most respected broadcast and print media, was arrested Tuesday.

On Thursday, President Vladimir Putin said he believed that arresting Gusinsky had been an excessive measure.