Russian ex-minister gets 8 years in jail for bribery

Sentenced to eight years in prison a Russian former minister for corruption

Former Russian economy minister hopes for acquittal in bribery case

Alexei Ulyukayev, former economic minister in Russian President Vladimir Putin's administration, was sentenced to eight years in prison on Friday for accepting a $2 million bribe.

Additionally, the court fined Ulyukayev 130 million rubles (about $2.2 million) and deprived him of the right to hold public offices.

State prosecutors said that Ulyukayev had asked for the bribe in exchange for approving the sale of the state-controlled oil company Bashneft (BANE.MM) to Rosneft.

A court in Moscow found Ulyukayev guilty of demanding and accepting the bribe on November 14 a year ago. The defendant noted that there was a provocation, orchestrated by the Federal Security Service (FSB) and that there was no sound evidence in the case, aside from testimony provided by Sechin.

Sechin heads Russia's largest oil producer, Rosneft, and his clout seconds only that of Putin.

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

Ulyukayev had been under house arrest since his detention in November previous year, and was taken into custody after the verdict Friday. The defense alleged that Ulyukayev accepted a bag with cash thinking it was filled with wine and sausages.

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Ulyukayev also warned the Kremlin elite that anyone could be falsely accused next.

According to Alexey Cherepanov, who formerly worked with Ulyukayev during his own days in the Ministry of Finance, the former minister "offended a friend of Putin" and was "no longer of use to Putin's team".

Trial of Ulyukayev began in mid-August.

"At the same time he told Sechin he would in future obstruct the company's activities if it rebuffed him", the verdict said.

Ulyukayev pleaded not guilty at the start of the trial and continued to maintain his innocence up until the verdict announcement.

He said he was guilty of a different thing: "I too often compromised, looked for easy ways and put my career and well-being above defending principles".

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