MOSCOW, December 4. /TASS/. Former Economy Minister Alexey Ulyukayev who is in the dock for extorting a $2 million bribe told the court he was the victim of a carefully designed set-up against him masterminded by Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, TASS reports after the courtroom.
"Now I have put all the pieces in place about all the anomalies of the situation, which preceded my encounter with Sechin and the bribe handover. I understand that a provocation was devised against me," Ulyukayev told Moscow’s Zamoskvoretsky court.
The ex-economy minister noted he had expected to get wine as a gift from the head of Russia’s state-owned oil giant Rosneft and discuss current affairs.
"Sechin was the initiator of this encounter and he acted persistently. He needed a meeting precisely in Rosneft’s office. These were suitable conditions to set up a trap, but I caught on to this later," Ulyukayev said.
The ex-minister was taken into custody 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 Rosneft’s acquisition of a 50.08% stake in another oil company, Bashneft, and was put under house arrest.
The next day, President Vladimir Putin dismissed Ulyukayev from his high-ranking post citing loss of trust. Ulyukayev was Russia’s first federal minister to have been detained while in office.
The state prosecutor asked court on Monday for sentencing Russia’s former Economy Minister Ulyukayev to 10 years in a maximum-security penitentiary and a fine of 500 million rubles ($8.5 million) for receiving $2 million in a bribe from Rosneft CEO Sechin.