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Kremlin unaware of plans to downgrade charges against ex-economy minister

March 15, 13:22 UTC+3 MOSCOW

It was reported earlier that the charges of bribe-taking against Ulyukayev may be requalified into "abuse of power"

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Former Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev

Former Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev

© Sergei Savostyanov/TASS

MOSCOW, March 15. /TASS/. The Kremlin is not aware if there are any plans to downgrade charges against former Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.

Dozhd TV channel reported earlier that the charges of bribe-taking against Ulyukayev may be requalified into "abuse of power."

"The Kremlin knows nothing about this [possible downgrading of charges]," Peskov said, adding that "investigation is still ongoing."

"After the investigation finds that there are enough grounds to transfer the case to the court, only the court may close the books on this story," he stressed.

Ulyukayev was detained on November 14, 2016, while allegedly receiving a $2 mln bribe in exchange for the Economic Development Ministry’s consent to give the go-ahead to the oil major Rosneft’s acquisition of a 50.08% stake in another oil company, Bashneft, and was put under house arrest. On November 15, President Vladimir Putin dismissed Ulyukayev from his high-ranking post citing loss of trust.

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