Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev. Image courtesy of the Kremlin/Wikimedia Commons.

Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev has been charged with soliciting a multi-million dollar bribe from Russia’s Rosneft.

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

Rosneft purchased a 50 percent stake in Russia-based Bashneft for RUB 329.7 billion in October.

An Investigative Committee spokesperson told TASS that 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 seen by Reuters, Ulyukayev threatened to use his ministerial authority against Rosneft if the company did not pay the bribe.

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

Russian authorities have not 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 could be facing up to 15 years in prison if convicted, Reuters said.


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