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Moscow court to get ‘second try’ at questioning Rosneft boss in ex-minister’s bribery case

November 13, 16:45 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Former Economic Development Minister Alexey Ulyukaev was taken into custody on November 14, 2016, in Rosneft’s office for extorting a $2 mln bribe from the oil company’s chief Igor Sechin

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Alexei Ulyukayev

Alexei Ulyukayev

© Vyacheslav Prokofiev/TASS

MOSCOW, November 13. /TASS/. Moscow’s Zamoskvoretsky Court will get a second attempt to question Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin on November 15, as it continues to delve into the evidence provided by the defense for the case against former Economic Development Minister Alexey Ulyukaev charged with accepting a $2 mln bribe, TASS reported from the courtroom.

On Monday, Sechin failed to show up in court. Another defense witness, First Deputy Energy Minister Alexey Teksler, appeared for questioning and told the court of the circumstances surrounding Bashneft’s privatization, calling it "a good deal."

Ulyukaev was taken into custody on November 14, 2016, by the Russian Investigative Committee authorities in Rosneft’s office for extorting a $2 mln bribe from the oil company’s chief Igor Sechin. Ulyukaev demanded a bribe from Sechin to green light the deal on purchasing Bashneft’s shares and threatened to impede Rosneft’s lawful activities with negative audits against the company’s other deals if his demand was turned down, prosecutors say.

Experts found a special substance on the minister’s hands that was also discovered on the handle of the case containing the money. According to investigators, the first briefcase was given to Ulyukaev in one of the company offices on that day and he was allegedly promised to get the second case delivered to his car.

The former minister is charged under Part 6 Article 290 of the Russian Criminal Code ("Large-scale bribery taken by a civil servant"). He pled not guilty, but stated his intention to cooperate with investigators. Ulyukaev became the first federal minister in Russian history to be arrested while in office. In November 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his dismissal due to his loss of trust.

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