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Prosecution regards ex-minister Ulyukayev's trial as open-and-shut case

The court has studied evidence confirming Ulyukayev’s guilt, the prosecutor said

MOSCOW, December 4. /TASS/. The state prosecution believes that the guilt of the former economic development minister, Alexey Ulyukayev, in extorting $2 million from the head of the oil company Rosneft Igor Sechin has been fully proven in court.

"Ulyukayev personally received from Sechin a bag with cash and was detained. The court has studied evidence confirming Ulyukayev’s guilt," the prosecutor said in debate in a Moscow court on Monday.

The state prosecutor told court that Ulyukayev had hinted Sechin Rosneft should pay a remuneration to the ministry for giving a go-ahead to the acquisition of the oil company Bashneft.

"Ulyukayev made it clear to Sechin that the future of other Rosneft transactions the Economic Development Ministry was still to evaluate depended on whether the bonus would be paid," the prosecutor said.

The prosecution said the extortion of the bribe took place during the BRICS summit in India. The amount of cash he would like to have Ulyukayev mentioned during a game of billiards in a hotel lobby by showing Sechin two fingers.

'Caught red-handed'

Ulyukayev was caught red-handed when receiving a $2mln bribe from Sechin and tried to pass himself off as being framed, the state prosecutor said.

"In court, Ulyukayev concocted a story that Sechin had goaded him into taking a bribe. Ulyukayev failed to explain why Sechin needed this provocation. The state prosecution considers that Ulyukayev’s version is a means of defense," Prosecutor Boris Neporozhny said during the hearing.

According to the prosecutor, Sechin had no grounds for a set-up against Ulyukayev. "The defendant is just trying to hide behind the president’s order and sweep under the carpet the true goal of his arrival," he noted.

The prosecutor called Ulyukayev’s story "an amateurish attempt to cover up the crime."

Ulyukayev earlier told the court that he took the bag with money from Sechin for a gift of wine and did not check what was really inside it. The lawyer earlier said Sechin promised to treat Ulyukayev to "the wine that he had never tasted in his entire life."

"It is noteworthy that a government member visited a commercial organization. This trip had no other reasons than to receive a bribe from Sechin," the prosecutor said. "Ulyukayev’s story falls apart like a house of cards."

"Ulyukayev just lied saying the first thing that came to his mind. He thought about wine, but he could have said potatoes. Potatoes would have been more plausible, judging on the bag’s weight," he said. The bag with $2mln is estimated to weigh 21.95 kg.

Ulyukayev was detained 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 put under house arrest. The next day, President Vladimir Putin dismissed Ulyukayev from his high-ranking post citing loss of trust. Ulyukayev was Russia’s first federal minister to have been detained while in office.