MOSCOW, December 15. /TASS/. Moscow’s Zamoskvoretsky court on Friday found former Russian Economic Development Minister Alexey Ulyukayev guilty of taking a bribe.
"The court found that Ulyukayev is guilty of taking a large-scale bribe," Judge Larisa Semyonova said.
In its verdict, the court came to a conclusion that as the Russian Economic Development Minister, Ulyukayev had powers to exert influence on the privatization of Bashneft oil company. The court detailed the company’s privatization process relying on the evidence of the government representatives and documentation for the deal.
The court continues reading the verdict.
Ulyukayev was taken into custody on November 14, 2016, after being caught red-handed in Rosneft’s office on suspicion of extorting a bribe from Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin. Experts found traces of a special substance on Ulyukayev’s hands, from the handle of a case where the money was marked.
As the case files indicate, in October 2016, Ulyukayev demanded a $2 million bribe from Sechin for the Economic Development Ministry’s consent to the go-ahead for Rosneft’s acquisition of a 50.08% stake in another oil company, Bashneft. Otherwise, he threatened to oppose Rosneft’s other legitimate corporate deals with ministerial roadblocks. The prosecutor noted that Sechin’s cash handover to Ulyukayev was part of a sting operation.
The ex-minister is charged under part 6, article 290 of Russia’s Criminal Code ("Large-scale bribe-taking by an official"). If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison and a fine seven times the bribe’s amount.
Ulyukayev was Russia’s first federal minister to have been detained while in office.
In November 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed Ulyukayev from his high-ranking post citing loss of trust. The ex-minister has been under house arrest ever since then.