MOSCOW, November 27. /TASS/. Russia’s former Minister of Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev, suspected of extorting a 2-million-dollar bribe from Rosneft’s CEO Igor Sechin, told the court in Moscow he is innocent, TASS correspondent reported from the court.
"I am not guilty," he said on Monday, beginning the statement at court, after Sechin had refused to come for interrogation and after the court had refused to return the case to prosecutors.
The former minister told about Bashneft’s privatization, initiated by the government, and about the formal side of the deal, which included the company’s cost analysis, choice of an agent and investor.
"I expressed my position a foreign investor would not be preferable due to the strategic importance of the Bashneft Company," he said.
Ulyukayev 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 the oil major Rosneft’s acquisition of a 50.08% stake in another oil company, Bashneft, and was subsequently put under house arrest. On November 15, President Vladimir Putin dismissed Ulyukayev from his high-ranking post citing loss of trust.