Russian Court Jails Ex-Minister Ulyukayev For 8 Years In Bribery Case

Aaron Brown
December 16, 2017

Earlier, the court sentenced him to eight years in a strict-regime colony for a bribe of $2 million.

Answering a question about what he would do now, Ulyukaev said that he would "continue to hope".

The case's denouement comes just months before a March presidential election which incumbent Putin is expected to win. The verdict and the harsher-than-expected sentence - Ulyukayev was widely forecast to get a suspended sentence - is likely to be interpreted as a sign that Sechin's place at Putin's side is safe and that Sechin, who advocates strong state control over the economy, is increasingly influential.

Ulyukayev had originally opposed the sale of the stake to Rosneft but later endorsed it after Putin said it would help fill state coffers. State prosecutors hailed Friday's verdict as "a triumph of justice", while a Rosneft spokesman said Ulyukayev had been caught "red-handed" and that the evidence against him had been rock solid.

Sechin has failed to attend court hearings despite being summoned as a witness.

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Judge Larisa Semyonova said the eight years would be served in a "harsh regime" colony. "Of course it's unjust", he told reporters. "Minimum?" - repeated Ulyukaev, then put up and showed his hands in handcuffs.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov refused on Friday to comment on the ruling.

Reports say Ulyukayev was found guilty of collecting the bribe from Igor Sechin, the CEO of oil giant Rosneft in a verdict described as totally groundless by a Putin adviser.

In a final hearing before the verdict, Ulyukayev said he was the victim of "a monstrous and cruel provocation". "Many face such injustice these days".

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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