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Investigation into Russian economy minister bribery case underway

According to the court's decision, the economy minister will be placed under house arrest for two months
Aleksey Ulyukayev Artyom Geodakyan/TASS
Aleksey Ulyukayev
© Artyom Geodakyan/TASS

MOSCOW, November 15. /TASS/. Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev detained over bribery charges said on Tuesday he is planning to cooperate with investigators.

"I am going to fully cooperate with investigators," Ulyukayev said at the court hearings of his case.

"I’d like to say that I did not refuse to give evidence but abstained from this," the minister said but declined to comment on the circumstances of the case. 

The guilt of Russia’s Minister of Economic Development Aleksey Ulyukayev is backed up by witnesses, an investigator said on Tuesday at Moscow’s Basmanny district court considering Ulyukayev’s house arrest. At least two witnesses have testified against Ulyukayev. 

"Ulyukayev was detained red-handed. Moreover, witnesses pointed at Ulyukayev as a person committing the crime," he said. 

"Speaking the language of criminal procedure, the investigators have substantial evidence, including the materials of investigative operations, audio and video footage, eyewitness testimony recorded in conformity with requirements of law, which are not disclosed for legal reasons," Investigative Committee spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko told TASS .

Moreover, the materials submitted to the investigators have been checked by the public prosecutor’s office and accepted by the court, Petrenko added.

Earlier, Ulyukayev’s lawyer Timofei Gridnev told Business FM radio station that Ulyukayev had been detained at Rosneft’s office yesterday. He said it was "a provocation against the government official." 

"The lawyers’ statement on Alexei Ulyukayev’s non-involvement in the Investigative Committee’s charges is the expected reaction of his defense. His lawyers said nothing new claiming that a provocation had taken place even with the presence of specific traces on the defendant’s fingers," the Committee spokeswoman emphasized.

Court's decision 

The representative of the Russian Investigative Committee said Ulyukayev is in good health to be placed under house arrest. He explained Ulyukayev was due to fly on an official trip to Cuba and Peru, which in fact "proves he is in good health and hence, can be placed under house arrest."

"The court has resolved to grant the investigator’s request to choose house arrest for a term of two months until January 15 as a measure of restraint for Ulyukayev," judge Artur Karpov read out the court’s decision.

According to the court’s ruling, Ulyukayev is prohibited to leave or change the place of his living without permission, communicate with any persons, except for close relatives, send postal messages and use any communications means. As the court’s resolution says, he can use a phone to summon an ambulance or a rescue service. 

Moscow penitentiary agency officials will put an ankle monitor on Economic Deveoplment Minister Alexei Ulyukayev who has been put under house arrest on Tuesday, and explain his rights and obligations to him, an insider source told TASS.

"After the written ruling, certified with a blue seal, is handed over to the penitentiary agency officials, they will explain his rights and obligations to him according to the court’s decision. After that, monitoring equipment will be installed at his residence place mentioned in the ruling," the source elaborated.

Apart from that, the agency officials will visit him at least twice a week and take him to investigators and to the court in an agency car. In any case, a person under house arrest has the right to call an ambulance, the police and the penitentiary agency while other aspects of his or hers communications are determined by a judge.