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Economy minister Ulyukayev denies bribe-taking — source

This is the first case in Russia’s modern history when a federal minister has been detained
Alexei Ulyukayev  Mikhail Metzel/TASS
Alexei Ulyukayev
© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, November 15. /TASS/. Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev has denied guilt in bribery taking, a source familiar with the situation told TASS on Tuesday.

"Ulyukayev has not admitted guilt. He denies the fact of bribery taking or other illegal actions," the source said.

According to the Investigative Committee, Ulyukayev was detained on Monday on suspicion of receiving $2 mln for the positive assessment provided by the ministry that allowed Rosneft to purchase the government’s 50% stake in the Bashneft oil firm. The minister attempted to extort money and threaten Rosneft’s representatives, the committee’s spokesperson said.

A criminal case was opened based on Part 6 of Article 290 of the Russian Criminal Code (bribe-taking). 

The situation in the Economic Development Ministry is normal despite the detention of Minister Alexei Ulyukayev, Deputy Minister Alexei Vedev told reporters.

"It is normal," Vedev said adding that the acting head of the ministry [Evgeny Yelin - TASS] has not held a meeting with deputy ministers yet.

Minister getting ready for a battle in court 

Relatives of Russia’s Economic Development Minister Aleksey Ulyukayev are looking for a lawyer, a source familiar with the situation has told TASS.

"At the moment Ulyukayev does not have an arranged lawyer. As far as I know, his relatives are still looking for one," the source said.

He speculated that a lawyer would apparently be selected by the end of the day and be able to attend the court hearings on a restrictive measure for the accused. The source added that investigative actions might proceed on the condition an appointed lawyer was present.

This is the first case when a federal minister has been detained in modern Russia. Ulyukayev has held the office since June 2013. He previously served as deputy chairman of Russia’s Central Bank for nearly a decade.