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Ex-minister Ulyukaev brands Rosneft CEO's $2 mln 'transfer' a complete 'set-up'

Alexey Ulyukaev said in court that Igor Sechin regularly gave him "expensive gifts"

MOSCOW, November 27. /TASS/. Former Russian Economic Development Minister Alexey Ulyukaev, accused of taking a bribe of $2 mln, told the court about his detention, branding the incident a “set-up."

"After the bag was opened bundles of banknotes were taken out, I realized that it was a set-up," he said in his testimony to Moscow's Zamoskvoretsky court. According to Ulyukaev, immediately after the arrest, (Federal Security Service) FSB officers prohibited him from making calls, but a video recording of the incident had been conducted from the very beginning.

He admitted that after the arrest he was bewildered, so answering the question about what is in the bag, initially he said he did not know. "But then I remembered and said that it must be wine that Sechin had promised me during the meeting in Goa," he recalled. 

"Sechin visited me regularly and brought gifts, there were expensive watches and other things. As I understand that this was part of the etiquette by Rosneft’s CEO," Ulyukaev added.

Ulyukayev, the then economic development minister, was detained on November 14, 2016, which had been the first detention of a senior government official in Russia’s modern history. He is facing charges of large-scale bribe-taking by a government official (Part 6, Section 290 of the Russian Criminal Code).

According to the Russian Investigative Committee, Ulyukayev was detained while taking a $2 mln bribe in return for the ministry green-lighting Rosneft’s purchase of a 50.08% stake in Bashneft. Moreover, according to investigators, the former minister is being charged with extorting a bribe through threats to Rosneft representatives.

In November 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin relieved Ulyukayev of his duties over the loss of trust. The former minister is currently under house arrest.