Ex-Russian minister jailed for 8 years over $2 million bribe

Alexey Ulyukayev

Alexey Ulyukayev

Alexei Ulyukayev, Russia's former economy minister has been slammed with an eight-year jail term after a court found him guilty of collecting the sum of $2million as bribe.

"Ulyukayev shall be convicted of a crime under Part 6 of Article 290 of the Russian Penal Code [the acceptance of a large bribe by an official] and shall be sentenced to eight years in a high-security penitentiary", Judge Larisa Semyonova read from the operative part of the judgment.

Ulyukayev, the most senior serving official to be arrested in decades, was found guilty of accepting the bribe past year from Rosneft chief executive Igor Sechin, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin.

Ulyukayev had denied the charges, saying he'd thought the bag holding the bribe was a gift of expensive alcohol.

Former Minister of Economic Development of Russia Alexey Ulyukaev called the court decision, which sentenced him to eight years in a strict regime colony, unreasonable, the RBC correspondent reports.

Further details of the ruling were expected later on Friday.

After being handed a bunch of white roses, he said, "I'm told that they are from a fan".

A court in Moscow found Ulyukayev guilty of demanding and accepting the bribe on November 14 a year ago.

Previously, he said a long sentence in a harsh-regime colony, most of which are in remote locations and offer prisoners little contact with families, would effectively be a death sentence.

Sechin told investigators that Ulyukayev had demanded the bribe in return for backing a controversial deal in which Rosneft acquired a stake in Bashneft, another state-run oil group.

Sechin has failed to attend court hearings despite being summoned as a witness.

When asked about the case on Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment.

"When everything is good, you shamefully turn away from people's grief".

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