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House Arrest Of Former Russian Minister Ulyukayev Extended

Aleksei Ulyukayev leaves the Basmanny district court after a hearing in Moscow on January 10.

A Moscow court has extended the pretrial house arrest of former Economic Development Minister Aleksei Ulyukayev by three months, until April 15.

The Basmanny district court granted prosecutors' request for an extension on January 10.

Ulyukayev is accused of taking a $2 million bribe in exchange for his approval to allow state oil giant Rosneft to purchase a majority stake in regional oil company Bashneft from the government.

Prosecutors argued that if allowed to leave his home, Ulyukayev could influence the investigation because many witnesses were his subordinates in government. They also said he might flee the country even though his passport has been confiscated.

Ulyukayev, 61, had asked to be released from house arrest on a pledge not to leave Moscow.

He also requested the opportunity to leave his home for medical treatment and the right for his 6-year-old daughter's nanny to come to the house. All his motions were rejected.

The court ruled earlier on January 10 to extend the criminal investigation of Ulyukayev until May 15.

Ulyukayev was arrested in November, becoming the highest-ranking Soviet or Russian government official to be arrested since the 1950s. President Vladimir Putin dismissed him from the government the next day.

Based on reporting by Interfax, Rapsinews, and TASS