Getting involved is dangerous Alexei Ulyukayev is not the first to be tried for Bashneft's privatization
Photo: Sergei Savostyanov / TASS
On the night of November 15, Russia's Investigative Committee announced the detention of Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev. According to committee data, Ulyukayev received a bribe in the amount of two million dollars for allowing Rosneft to buy a controlling stake in Bashneft. Though Ulyukayev publicly opposed the deal, but it took place anyway. The company was sold to Rosneft without an auction. The Economic Development Minister is not the first person having problems with the law because of Bashneft. Meduza summarizes the other cases related to the Bashkir oil company.
Why he was targeted: The son of Bashkortostan's first president Murtaza Rakhimov, Ural Rakhimov headed Bashneft from 2002 until the oil company was sold to Vladimir Yevtushenko's Sistema in 2009. Previously, Meduza wrote that, since the early 2000s, Igor Sechin, as deputy head of the Kremlin administration, was involved in a row with the Rakhimov family for control of Bashkortostan and the republic's fuel and energy complex. Eventually, Sechin lost. In 2014, Ural Rakhimov was accused being involved in the illegal privatization of Bashneft in 2005 and in the company's subsequent illegal sale to Sistema.
How it ended: The prosecution charged Rakhimov in absentia; he is wanted internationally. Ural Rakhimov resides in Austria. In early 2016, a Vienna court refused to extradite Rakhimov to Russian investigators, stating that the case against him was politically motivated.
Why he was targeted: Sistema head Vladimir Yevtushenko became a major owner of Bashneft in 2009, having bought the structure from Ural Rakhimov. There were rumors that Yevtushenko had bought the company in the interests of Rosneft, although Sistema began buying shares in the Bashkir fuel and energy sector as early as the mid-2000s. In September 2014, Yevtushenko was charged with money laundering in the framework of the illegal privatization of Bashneft. The businessman was put under house arrest; Sistema's capitalization sharply declined. Forbes reduced its estimate of Yevtushekov's net worth from $9 billion to $2.8 billion.
How it ended: Sistema's lawyers claimed that Bashneft's privatization was legitimate and that the Prosecutor General's claims are unfounded in view of the fact that Bashneft was owned by regional rather than federal authorities. In December 2014, Bashneft's privatization was found to be illegal; an a majority stake went to the state. Sistema decided not to challenge the decision. After that Yevtushenko was released. In early 2016, the criminal case was closed due to a lack of evidence.