Rus­sian ex-min­is­ter pleads in­no­cence at cor­rup­tion trial

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Moscow, Rus­sia - Rus­sia’s for­mer econ­omy min­is­ter Alexei Ulyukayev on Tues­day in­sisted he was in­no­cent as his high-pro­file bribery trial be­gan in Moscow.

Ulyukayev (61) was ar­rested in Novem­ber 2016 while still a min­is­ter, the first time in decades an act­ing cab­i­net mem­ber had been de­tained and crim­i­nally charged.

He de­nies hav­ing taken a US$2mn kick­back (€1.7mn) to clear state oil gi­ant Ros­neft to ac­quire a stake in oil firm Bash­neft. Look­ing vis­i­bly thin­ner, the ex-min­is­ter said he had lost 14kg in the course of the case. “Thanks to our jus­tice sys­tem. I did not take bribes. It’s all a provo­ca­tion.”

In­ves­ti­ga­tors say he was caught red-handed ac­cept­ing the cash. The identity of the per­son who al­legedly paid the bribe has not been re­vealed. If con­victed, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

The next hear­ing is on Au­gust 16, when Ulyukayev will be ex­pected to make a for­mal plea. The court also ex­tended his house ar­rest by an­other six months.

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