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Putin's ex-economy minister Ulyukayev gets eight years for bribery

Staff Writer |
Former Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev was sentenced to 8 years in prison and will have to pay a fine of 130 million rubles ($2.2 million).

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Ulyukayev is the first serving Russian minister to be arrested since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

He has been under house arrest since his detention in November 2016 on charges of having elicited a $2 million bribe from Igor Sechin, the head of Rosneft.

"Ulyukayev is guilty of accepting a bribe as a government official for actions that would benefit the briber-giver," judge Larisa Semyonova was cited as saying by the RBC business portal.

According to the verdict, Ulyukayev solicited the bribe from Sechin in return for giving a “positive assessment” to Rosneft's bid to buy government-held stakes in the Bashneft oil company.

The trial was filled with drama from the outset. The defense alleged that Ulyukayev accepted a bag with cash thinking it was filled with wine and sausages.

The defendant himself contributed to the intrigue by bringing novels to his previous hearing, including Anton Chekhov’s “The Murder” and Franz Kafka’s “The Trial.”

In turn, Sechin contributed by skipping on court appearances on four separate occasions, after which the court ceased sending him summons.

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