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Economist Guriyev decides not to return to Russia

June 03, 2013, 11:50 UTC+3

Attorneys of the ex-rector confirmed that about a month ago he was questioned over the YUKOS case

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It became known on Saturday that ex-head of the Russian Economic School Sergei Guriyev, who is currently in France, had decided not to return to Russia.

Attorneys of the ex-rector confirmed that about a month ago he was questioned over the YUKOS case, the Vechernyaya Moskva writes. Experts linked his resignation and departure abroad with this fact. Lawyer Vadim Klyuvgant, who defends former YUKOS head Mikhail Khodorkovsky's interests, told the newspaper that his attitude to the fact that Guriyev was brought to the case as a witness was very negative.

Sergei Guriyev had nothing to do either with YUKOS or with Khodorkovsky and Lebedev. And so, there were no reasons to question him over the case, he said.

On Friday, the presidential Council for Human Rights discussed the situation, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. The council believes it creates an atmosphere of fear in the society, and experts do not feel themselves safe, even being council members.

The newspaper cites professor of the constitutional law department at the High Economics School, member of the council Ilya Shablinsky as saying that the next meeting of council members with the president was planned for late this summer, but he could hardly imagine how the meeting would be held in such an atmosphere.

"But the sword of Damocles hangs above us -- if we now write what authorities will not like, the orders will not be given to us next year. All this does not look even Soviet-like. Quite possible it was what Guryev paid the penalty for," director general of the Council for National Strategy Valery Khomyakov supposes.

"Two interrogations, searches, uncovered office and personal mail -- what was done to the person who is not guilty of anything and who is accused of following directions of the then president of the country," Novaya Gazeta observer Andrei Kolesnikov writes.

The RBC Daily notes Guriyev will continue to be a consultant of Sberbank (Savings Bank), Eastern Europe's major bank. Last Friday, bank shareholders at the annual meeting approved him to be a member of the new Supervisory Board, despite his withdrawal.

Three days before the meeting of shareholders, Sberbank received a statement from Guriyev, who was Economic School rector at the time, that he withdrew his candidacy from the elections to the Supervisory Board. However, on Friday at the shareholder meeting, director of the Sberbank legal department Igor Kondrashov said the bank could not remove Guriyev from the list of candidates to the council, since he handed in his statement late. Some shareholders voted for him in anbsentia and had the right to appeal against vote results later.

When Guriyev submitted his statement informing about his withdrawal, about six percent of the shareholders already had voted for him, Sberbank President Gherman Gref said. "We spent two days legally analyzing the situation and even asked the FSFM (Federal Service for Financial Markets) about its view. And we decided that we had no right to remove his candidacy from the ballot."

Sberbank decides at present how Guriyev would perform his duties, taking into consideration that he is abroad. "After the vote, we contacted Sergei Guriyev and agreed with him that he would remain in the council and participate in teleconferences and sometimes may be present," Gref said.

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