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Rosneft CEO Testifies In Ulyukayev's Appeals Case


Igor Sechin (file photo)

The chief executive of Russia's state-run oil giant Rosneft has testified in the appeals case of former Russian Economy Minister Aleksei Ulyukayev, who has been sentenced to eight years in prison for bribery.

Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, who did not show up at Ulyukayev's trial last year, gave his close-door testimony for about 90 minutes at the Moscow City Court on April 12.

Following Sechin's questiionning, the court gave Ulyukayev's defense team two hours to work out a new position.

No more details were made public.

A Moscow court on December 15 convicted Ulyukayev of taking a "large bribe" and sentenced him to eight years in a strict-regime prison.

Former Russian Economy Minister Aleksei Ulyukayev attends his court hearing in Moscow on April 12.
Former Russian Economy Minister Aleksei Ulyukayev attends his court hearing in Moscow on April 12.

Ulyukayev’s lawyers asked the appeals court to cancel the verdict and sentence, saying the trial was biased.

Ulyukayev, who was fired by Putin hours after his arrest in the middle of the night in November 2016, is the highest Russian official to be arrested since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

Ulyukayev was found guilty of taking $2 million in cash from Sechin, a longtime Putin associate.

Prosecutors said the bribe was given in exchange for Ulyukayev approving the sale of state-controlled oil company Bashneft to Rosneft.

Police detained Ulyukayev inside Rosneft headquarters shortly after Sechin handed him the cash inside a lockable brown bag, prosecutors said.

Ulyukayev has said he thought the package contained a gift but that a trap had been set for him.

Ulyukayev is seen as a member of the liberal camp in the Russian ruling elite, while Sechin, a longtime former deputy chief of staff at the Kremlin, is perceived as a hard-liner and one of Putin's closest allies.

He refused to testify as a witness in court last year despite four summonses, saying that he was busy with work related to Rosneft -- the biggest Russian producer of oil, a key export.

With reporting by TASS, RIA Novosti, Interfax, and Rapsinews
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