MOSCOW, September 17. /ITAR-TASS/. The arrest of the diversified holding company Sistema’s chairman and majority owner is not politically motivated, Russian business ombudsman Boris Titov said on Wednesday.
“Situations connected with corporate, legal or legislative issues should not affect the business image,” Titov said in an interview with Rossiya 24 TV Channel. “I’m almost 200% sure that there are no political motives in this situation,” the Russian president’s business ombudsman said. “It is early to judge about this so far,” the ombudsman noted.
Sistema Chairman and majority owner Vladimir Yevtushenkov ranked by Forbes as Russia’s 15th richest man with an estimated fortune of $9 billion was placed on Tuesday under house arrest on suspicion of involvement in a money-laundering scheme with the assets of oil companies in Bashkortostan, which are now part of Bashneft oil producer controlled by the tycoon.
The Sistema management issued a statement on Wednesday saying that the privatization of the BashTEK group of oil companies in Bashkortostan was lawful and transparent.
Sistema is cooperating with the investigative authorities and intends to use all legal means to defend its position, the company’s statement said.
Trading in Bashneft’s stock was suspended on the Moscow Stock Exchange on Wednesday morning after the oil company’s common and preferred shares had plunged by more than 20%.