The Kremlin will not interfere in the Yevtushenkov case, said the Russian president at the Russia Calling investment forum in response to repeated calls from the business community to stop the investigation into the alleged violations in the privatization of Bashneft, a major oil producer in Russia’s Republic of Bashkortostan.
Earlier, Russia-IC reported that former Bashneft CEO Ural Rakhimov has abused his father’s position as the region’s governor to embezzle the oil giant’s shares, says a ruling of the Moscow City Court.
In 2002-2006, Ural Rakhimov “got hold of controlling stakes in a number of companies” using his father’s administrative position, says a ruling of the court.
The Commercial Court of Moscow had arrested Bashneft’s stocks owned by Russia’s largest publicly traded holding Sistema.
The prosecutors insist the privatization deal was fraught with violations and that the stocks must be returned to the state.
Sistema purchased Bashneft from the son of Bashkortostan’s former leader. According to the police, that son privatized the assets illegally and laundered the funds by selling this major oil company to Yevtushenkov’s Sistema at what they claim was a lower price.
According to the corporate press release, “Sistema's management believes that the acquisition of BashTEK group was legal and transparent. The company is fully cooperating with the investigation and intends to use all legal means to defend its position.”
Rumours around the detention include Rosneft’s push to buy Bashneft at a cheap price to ramp up its production capabilities amid sanctions limiting Igor Sechin’s plans to develop offshore fields.
Rosneft has strongly rejected the allegations but it is still very much in the news, with many comparing Yevtushenkov to another oligarch, Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
Author: Mikhail Vesely