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Lawyers of AFK Sistema CEO Yevtushenkov lodge appeal against his arrest

September 18, 2014, 18:40 UTC+3
Vladimir Yevtushenkov, chairman and majority owner of the Russian diversified holding company Sistema, was placed on September 16 under house arrest
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© ITAR-TASS/Sergei Bobylev

MOSCOW, September 18. /ITAR-TASS/. The defense of Russian services conglomerate AFK Sistema’s board chairman Vladimir Yevtushenkov has appealed his arrest, the Basmanny court said Thursday.

“The court has received the appeal,” the court told Itar-Tass. The defense asked the Moscow City Court to cancel its arrest warrant for Yevtushenkov and choose a measure of restraint not connected with imprisonment for him.

Yevtushenkov, chairman and majority owner of the Russian diversified holding company Sistema, was placed on September 16 under house arrest on suspicion of involvement in a money-laundering scheme with the assets of oil companies in the Urals Republic of Bashkortostan, which are now part of Bashneft oil producer controlled by the tycoon.

Yevtushenkov, ranked by Forbes among Russia’s 20 richest people with an estimated fortune of $9 billion, will stay under house arrest until mid-November in his house in the elite settlement of Zhukovka outside Moscow.

Russian investigators accuse Yevtushenkov of involvement in a money-laundering scheme, in which Sistema acquired Bashkortostan’s oil firms that had been earlier privatized by Ural Rakhimov, a son of the republic’s former head, Murtaza Rakhimov.

The stocks of firms owned by Yevtushenkov plummeted on Wednesday on news of his arrest, with public companies integrated into Sistema losing over $5.5 billion in their market value.

If convicted, the Sistema chairman may be sentenced to seven years in prison. He has rejected all the accusations and insists on his innocence.

Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said Thursday that the situation around AFK Sistema negatively affects the investment climate of the Russian Federation.

“It is clear that suspicions that there is a certain economic motivation [during prosecution of the businessman] complicate decision making for investors,” Ulyukayev said, adding that there emerge additional risks related with capital outflow and investment activity.

“We are certainly waiting for explanations regarding this situation,” the minister said, adding that “investors are currently in tense expectation, the situation is complicated and they need to be calmed to the maximum”.

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