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Vienna court turns down Russia’s request for extradition of Bashneft former head — lawyer

March 09, 18:59 UTC+3 UFA
According to the lawyer, the termination of Rakhimov’s criminal case in connection with the verdict rendered by the Vienna court is out of the question
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© Sergey Savostyanov/TASS

UFA, March 9. /TASS/. A court in Austria has refused to extradite to Russia the former head of the Bashneft oil company, Ural Rakhimov, his lawyer Sergey Makarenko told TASS on Wednesday.

"The criminal court of the city of Vienna has turned down Russia’s request for extradition of Ural Rakhimov to the Russian Federation. I guess it could be because of the absence of the legal grounds for such action or because of some legal obstacles", he said.

According to Makarenko, the court issued its ruling on Rakhimov on February 19. "We, the Russian defense lawyers, did not take part in that proceedings", the lawyer added.

According to him, the termination of Rakhimov’s criminal case in connection with the verdict rendered by the Vienna court is out of the question. "The decision to close the case should be taken by the Russian side. But over the past two months, we, the Russian defense lawyers, have learnt nothing about the investigation progress. Lawyer Ilnur Salimyanov has turned to the Russian Investigative Committee with a request to provide the documents on the extension of the investigation period, other procedural decisions in the case that have been made and that affect the rights and interests of Rakhimov, but we have received no response to the appeal," Makarenko said.

In April 2014, Ural Rakhimov was charged with major misappropriation or embezzlement and money laundering. The charges were brought against him in absentia. In November 2014, Rakhimov gave evidence in the case, staying abroad. He replied in writing to the investigator's questions about his functions during the privatization and sale of enterprises of Bashkortostan’s fuel and energy complex. Rakhimov is now staying in Austria.

In January 2016, the Moscow Arbitration Court closed the criminal case against co-owner of JSFC Sistema Vladimir Yevtushenkov in relation to the acquiring shares of the companies included in the fuel and energy complex of Bashkortostan.

Yevtushenkov’s lawyer Vladimir Kozin confirmed the information, saying that the prosecution was terminated by the court's decision, finding Yevtushenkov acquired his assets in the company in good faith.

"The criminal case was closed due to absence of the event of a crime," Kozin told TASS.

He explained that the reason for the termination of a criminal case was the decision of the Moscow Arbitration Court "on a recourse action of JSFC Sistema to Ural-Invest", which indicates that the applicant acted in good faith and did not know that the acquired property was the property of the Russian Federation, and the defendant, in turn, had no right to dispose of the property."

"The investigator also clarified to my client the right for rehabilitation and compensation for wrongful prosecution. I cannot say whether he will apply for compensation, since the decisions solely up to him," Kozin said.

Yevtushenkov was accused of involvement in decriminalization of property, obtained by criminal means   theft of shares of energy companies of Bashkortostan, together with former Head of Bashneft Ural Rakhimov and businessman Levon Ayrapetyan.

As the investigator previously stated, Rakhimov used the position of his father - President of the Republic of Bashkortostan and organized theft of controlling stakes in a number of public companies worth more than 130 bln rubles ($1.7 bln). Then Rakhimov provided financial transactions with the stolen property, namely selling a stake in JSFC Sistema and other legal entities, totaling more than $2.5 bln. Ayrapetyan was arrested after former senator from Bashkortostan Igor Izmestyev, who is serving a life sentence for a series of crimes, confessed. The former senator allegedly told about the involvement of Ayrapetyan in 2009 in the sale of Bashneft shares by Ural Rakhimov to the companies of JSFC Sistema.

In late October 2014, Moscow’s Arbitration Court granted the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office request on the return of Bashneft’s shares to the state. The court found that violations were committed in the series of privatization deals as a result of which companies of the Bashkortostan’s fuel and energy sector were transferred to Rakhimov’s ownership.

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