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UFA, October 10. /TASS/. The accounts of an investment fund affiliated with the charitable foundation run by the former head of the Urals Republic of Bashkortostan were arrested in a criminal probe into the theft of oil producer Bashneft’s shares, the foundation said on Friday.
Moscow’s Basmanny Court has ruled to arrest the funds of Ural-Invest, a subsidiary of the charitable foundation Ural, where ex-Bashkortostan head Murtaza Rakhimov chairs the board of directors. Ural-Invest’s money held on accounts with several credit institutions was arrested as part of a criminal investigation into suspected violations during privatization of Bashkortostan’s energy companies that now make up the oil producer Bashneft, the foundation said.
“We stressed on many occasions that privatization of the fuel and energy sector in the Republic of Bashkortostan was carried out in full compliance with the effective legislation and the treaty on the delimitation of competences and powers between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Bashkortostan,” the foundation’s statement said.
State packages of the shares of energy companies in Bashkortostan were privatized in the early 1990s through their transfer to the charter capital of Bashneftekhim and the Bashkortostan Fuel Company. In 2003, the joint stock companies sold the shares at market prices to commercial organizations. The shares were subsequently donated to the charitable foundation Ural and transferred to the holding company Sistema through Ural-Invest under a purchase/sale agreement. Sistema owner Vladimir Yevtushenkov was placed under house arrest in early September on charges of legalizing toxic funds received from privatization of the Bashkortostan energy companies.
The charitable foundation Ural is run by ex-Bashkortostan head Murtaza Rakhimov whose son Ural Rakhimov is a suspect in the Bashneft theft criminal probe.
Lawyer Sergey Makarov representing the interests of Murtaza Rakhimov said on Friday that accounts of the Ural charitable foundation had been arrested. “I can’t say on what grounds it was done,” the lawyer said.
The lawyer earlier said Murtaza Rakhimov was treated as a witness for the defense in the Bashneft probe. “After he gave testimony in August, he has not been invited for questioning any more,” the lawyer said.
Investigators held searches in the Ural foundation in September, seizing several documents on the organization’s financial condition.
The arrest of the accounts of Ural-Invest throws into question the financing of ice hockey in Bashkortostan, the construction of the country’s tallest mosque in Ufa and the implementation of social projects in the republic, the foundation’s statement said.
“The implementation of the large-scale charitable program by the Ural Foundation is financed with interest accrued on Ural-Invest’s deposit accounts,” the Foundation said.
“The arrest of money threatens the implementation of the Foundation’s current projects, such as the construction of the Great Mosque in Ufa and a new building of the hospital for war veterans,” the statement said.