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Russian Economy Minister arrested for allegedly ‘extorting’ oil company bribe

Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev has been charged with soliciting a multi-million dollar bribe from oil giant Rosneft. 

Russia’s Investigative Committee alleges that Ulyukayev extorted a $2 million bribe from Rosneft, Russia’s biggest oil company, in exchange for approving the company’s purchase of a stake in Bashneft. 

Rosneft purchased a 50 percent stake in Bashneft, a smaller regional oil company, for RUB 329.7 billion ($5.1 billion) in October. 

An Investigative Committee spokesperson told TASS the agency was tipped off after Rosneft complained to law enforcement about the alleged corruption. 

Ulyukayev was detained on November 14, TASS said. 

According to Russian media reports, Ulyukayev threatened to use his ministerial authority against Rosneft if the company didn’t pay the bribe. 

Russian authorities told TASS the case will not impact Rosneft’s purchase of its Bashneft stake. 

Authorities haven’t named any other suspects in the case. 

Ulyukayev is the highest ranking Russian official to be arrested while in office since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. 

He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

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From the Petro Global News Wire Service © 2016 All Rights Reserved

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