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Moscow Court Rejects Former Minister's Appeal

Former Russian Minister of Economic Development Aleksei Ulyukayev (file photo)

A Moscow court has denied an appeal by former Economic Development Minister Aleksei Ulyukayev challenging his pretrial house arrest.

The Moscow Municipal Court on November 28 upheld an earlier court decision ordering Ulyukayev held under house arrest until his trial for allegedly accepting a bribe.

Ulyukayev's lawyers had argued their client should be held under less restrictive conditions and be allowed to travel.

Ulyukayev was arrested on the night of November 14-15 on suspicion of accepting a $2 million bribe in exchange for approving the purchase of a stake in a regional oil company by the state-owned Rosneft corporation.

He denies the allegations.

Moscow's Basmany District Court on November 15 ordered Ulyukayev held under house arrest for two months.

Russian President Vladimir Putin fired Ulyukayev from his ministerial post the same day.

Ulyukayev, who had served as economic development minister since 2013, is seen as a member of the camp of relatively liberal economists in the government of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Ulyukayev became the highest-ranking Russian government official to face arrest since the time of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

Medvedev called the arrest "an extraordinary event" for the country.

Based on reporting by Rapsinews and Interfax