Russian ex-minister Alexei Ulyukayev jailed for 8 years over $2m bribe

Russian former economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev waits for the start of a court hearing in Moscow
Ex-Minister of Economic Development Ulyukaev considers his sentence unreasonable

16 December, 2017

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

Ulyukayev, who was handcuffed and placed in a courtroom cage after the verdict, looked shocked and said he had been treated unfairly.

In addition to the prison term, the court also ordered the former minister to pay a fine of over 130 million rubles and banned him from holding public office and posts at state corporations for eight years after he finishes serving his sentence.

Further details of the ruling were expected later on Friday.

Prosecutors have asked for a ten-year jail sentence but analysts speculated that the authorities could try to dampen controversy over the case by giving him a soft or suspended sentence.

Ulyukayev, who denied the charges, said he'd been set up.

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

Previously, he said a long sentence in a harsh-regime colony, most of which are in remote locations and offer prisoners little contact with families, would effectively be a death sentence.

Ulyukayev has condemned the proceedings as trumped up by Rosneft's politically connected chief executive, Igor Sechin.

State prosecutors had said that Ulyukayev had asked for the bribe in exchange for approving the sale of the state-controlled oil company Bashneft to Rosneft.

The prosecution did not provide any proof that Ulyukayev opened the bag of marked notes and therefore knew he was receiving a bribe. Sechin has publicly opposed the court's decision to release audio tapes of the sting operation.

When asked about the case on Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment. "Forgive me for that, people", he told the court, wiping his forehead with a handkerchief.

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