Igor Sechin, CEO of the Russian state-owned oil giant Rosneft, has told investigators that then-Economy Minister Aleksei Ulyukayev asked him for a $2 million bribe during a BRICS summit in Goa, India, in October 2016, the BBC has reported.
The British broadcaster reported on November 23 that it had obtained copies of the protocols of Sechin's three interviews with prosecutors in the investigation leading up to corruption charges being filed against Ulyukayev.
According to the documents, Sechin stressed that no one besides himself heard Ulyukayev name the figure.
Sechin also reportedly told investigators the Ulyukayev telephoned him and asked for a meeting at Rosneft's offices on November 14, 2016. However, that testimony appears to contradict a leaked recording of the telephone call that emerged earlier this month, in which Sechin can be heard inviting Ulyukayev to that meeting.
Sechin has ignored three summonses to testify at Ulyukayev's trial, most recently failing to show up on November 22. At that hearing, his lawyer read a statement suggesting that Sechin's interviews with investigators could be read in court in lieu of his personal testimony.
The court rejected that suggestion and issued a fourth summons ordering Sechin to appear on November 27.
Ulyukayev is charged with extorting $2 million from Rosneft in exchange for government approval of Rosneft's acquisition of the Bashneft oil company.
He was arrested on November 14, 2016, after allegedly accepting the bribe in Sechin's office. He has denied the charges and said he believed the box with the money contained wine.
He has said the case against him was a provocation perpetrated by Sechin and his allies in the Federal Security Service (FSB).
According to the documents obtained by the BBC, Sechin was questioned on November 15, 2016 and on January 17 and May 31, 2017.
The BBC reported that Sechin's spokesman, Mikhail Leontiyev, declined to comment on the leaked protocols.