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Russian business ombudsman suggests releasing Sistema owner from house arrest

September 17, 2014, 16:45 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Vladimir Yevtushenkov was placed under house arrest on suspicion of involvement in a money-laundering scheme with the assets of oil companies in Bashkortostan
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Russian business ombudsman Boris Titov

Russian business ombudsman Boris Titov

© ITAR-TASS/Yury Mashkov

MOSCOW, September 17. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian business ombudsman Boris Titov suggested on Wednesday that investigators should replace the arrest of billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov accused of money laundering with other legal measures not related to the limitation of freedom.

Yevtushenkov, chairman and majority owner of the Russian diversified holding company Sistema, 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.

“As for the measure of restraint, it has been chosen in compliance with the law, which is a positive moment,” the Russian president’s business ombudsman said.

“But I would like to stress that this case involves a person who is respected in society and the business community and who is working and building business in Russia. This is a stable and socially important business, which employs hundreds of people,” the business ombudsman said in an interview with ITAR-TASS. The ombudsman said Russian investigators should take this aspect into account and at least consider the issue of choosing a measure of restraint for Yevtushenkov not related to his arrest and the limitation of freedom.

Yevtushenkov, ranked by Forbes among Russia’s 20 richest people with an estimated fortune of $9 billion, was placed under house arrest until mid-November. If convicted, he may be sentenced to seven years in prison.

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