Suspect in Bashneft case Levon Airapetyan loses appeal of house arrest
MOSCOW, February 11 (RAPSI) – The Moscow City Court on Wednesday ordered businessman Levon Airapetyan, who stands accused of embezzlement and money laundering in Bashneft case, to remain under house arrest, rejecting his appeal of the restrictions, RAPSI reports from the courtroom.
A judge thus dismissed an appeal filed by the attorney for Airapetyan seeking to release his client because of his poor health. Airapetyan will remain under house arrest until April 15.
Bashneft oil company was controlled by the government of Russia’s Bashkortostan region until 2003, when a major stake was sold to companies affiliated with Ural Rakhimov, son of the former head of Bashkortostan Murtaza Rakhimov. The company was privatized in 2009 when Russian oil-to-telecoms conglomerate AFK Sistema gained control of it.
Investigators opened a criminal case last April linked to deals with Bashneft shares in 2002 to 2009.
Rakhimov and billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov were implicated in the sale of Bashneft stock in 2009. Rakhimov was charged in absentia with embezzlement and money laundering, put on the international wanted list.
Airapetyan was allegedly involved in the 2009 sale of Bashneft to Sistema.
Investigators claim that Airapetyan has dual citizenship and owns property abroad. Particularly, he most recently resided in Monaco. This was presented by investigators as a sufficient reason for detaining the businessman. In early October, he was placed under house arrest. On December 17, Moscow's Basmanny District Court extended his house arrest until mid-April, 2015.
Yevtushenkov, the Sistema board chairman and one of Russia’s richest people, has been placed under house arrest as well. In December, the oligarch was released on the condition of honoring investigation summons, according to his lawyer Vladimir Kozin.