TUNIS (Reuters) - A Tunisian appeals court on Friday rejected a request by presidential candidate Nabil Karoui to be released from detention pending the verdict in his trial for tax fraud and money laundering, his lawyer said.

"He will remain in prison," the media mogul's lawyer Kamel Ben Massoud told Reuters. Karoui denies wrongdoing and says the case is politically motivated.

He is one of 26 candidates contesting Sunday's first-round vote in the presidential election, with a run-off between the two who get most votes scheduled to take place by Oct. 13.

Karoui's supporters have accused powerful rival politicians of trying to silence him, saying they are seeking to stop a campaign that has criticised the government over poverty.

His opponents say Karoui has improperly used his unlicensed television station and his charity for his own personal political advantage.

(Reporting By Tarek Amara; Writing by Angus McDowall; Editing by Edmund Blair)

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