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Prosecutor demands Ulyukayev be sentenced to ten years behind bars for bribery

The prosecutor also demanded prohibiting the former minister from taking certain jobs for a period of ten years after serving the prison term and stripping him of government awards

MOSCOW, December 4. /TASS/. The state prosecutor has asked court for sentencing Russia’s former economic development minister, Alexey Ulyukayev, for receiving $2 million in a bribe from the head of the oil company Rosneft Igor Sechin to ten years in a tight security penitentiary and a fine of 500 million rubles ($8.5 million), a TASS correspondent reports from the courtroom.

The prosecutor also demanded prohibiting Ulyukayev from taking certain jobs for a period of ten years after serving the prison term and stripping him of the state counsellor rank and government awards For Service to the Fatherland 3rd and 4th class.

The prosecutor asked the court to requalify the charges against Ulyukayev from extortion to bribe-taking. The former minister is now accused under Part 6 of Article 290 of the Criminal Code (gross bribe-taking by a civil servant). The maximum punishment under this Article is 15 years in a penitentiary and a fine of seven times the value of the bribe.

Prosecutor’s analysis did not contain Sechin’s testimony

During debate the prosecutor excluded from his analysis testimonies made by Sechin, who had been regarded as the main witness for the prosecution.

As a TASS correspondent reports from the courtroom, the state prosecutor in his speech analyzed written evidence and testimonies by witnesses the court had studied. Sechin’s testimonies were absent from that analysis. The head of Rosneft was absent from the courtroom and his testimonies made to the investigators were not read out.

The main witness for the prosecution who said Ulyukayev had been demanding a bribe was the former chief of security of the oil company Rosneft, Oleg Feoktistov. The prosecutor said in his statement that Feoktistov was not an eye-witness, but learned about the incident from Sechin.

Also, the prosecutor quoted Ulyukayev’s statement made in Laos to the effect Rosneft’s participation in the privatization of Bashneft shares was inexpedient.

Lawyers ask to acquit Ulyukayev

Ulyukayev's lawyers say his guilt is not proved and ask the court to acquit him.

"We believe his guilt is not established and we ask to deliver a not guilty verdict," lawyer Timofey Gridnev told Moscow’s Zamoskvoretsky court during the hearing.

"The prosecutor’s position was not confirmed in court. The conclusion that may be made as the process is coming to an end is that Ulyukayev acted strictly in line with the Russian law," Gridnev said.

According to the lawyer, Ulyukayev could not have demanded a bribe from Sechin given their different "weight in the Russian political elite."

FSB general Oleg Feoktistov, who was behind the arrest of Ulyukayev, may be brought to justice for false denunciation if the court announces a non-guilty verdict, Gridnev said.

"Feoktistov is the major concerned party: it was he who wrote a statement for the Federal Security Service chief on initiating a criminal case against Ulyukayev, it was he who took $2mln from a private investor to give it to Ulyukayev," the lawyer told the court.

Feoktistov wants Ulyukayev to be convicted as "there is high risk that he may be brought to justice for false denunciation," the lawyer said. 

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.