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

Shadow of worker is seen next to logo of Russia's Rosneft oil company at central processing facility of Rosneft-owned Priobskoye oil field outside Nefteyugansk

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

Court bailiffs put handcuffs on Ulyukayev and escorted him to a cage in the courtroom after the presiding judge, Larisa Semyonova, had pronounced the sentence.

A Russian court sentenced ex-economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev to eight years in prison on Friday after finding him guilty of taking a $2 million bribe from Igor Sechin, the CEO of oil giant Rosneft.

He is the highest-ranking Russian official to have been convicted on corruption charges.

A Moscow court on Friday also ordered Ulyukayev to pay a $2.2 million fine.

A court in Moscow found Ulyukayev guilty of demanding and accepting the bribe on November 14 past year.

Sechin told investigators that Ulyukayev had demanded the bribe in return for backing a controversial deal in which Rosneft acquired a stake in Bashneft, another state-run oil group.

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

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Testimony repeatedly detailed failures of leadership and the triumph of institutional greed at the expense of little children. It heard from more than 1300 witnesses in public hearings and was contacted by more than 15,000 survivors or their relatives.

"It's a bad, groundless verdict", Kudrin said on social media.

Ulyukayev had been under house arrest since his detention in November previous year, and was taken into custody after the verdict Friday.

Alexei Kudrin, a former finance minister who has retained influence thanks to his personal ties with Putin, deplored the ruling on Twitter as a "horrible, unfounded verdict".

The ex-minister has been under house arrest ever since then, the report said.

Ulyukayev said the sentence was "unjust" and vowed to appeal.

Ulyukayev pleaded not guilty at the start of the trial and continued to maintain his innocence up until the verdict announcement.

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