MOSCOW, August 27 (RAPSI) – The Moscow City Court has upheld an injunction prohibiting AFK Sistema, Russia's top investment company, from selling Bashneft shares, RAPSI reported Wednesday from the courtroom.

Attorneys for AFK Sistema, which directly owns almost 72% of Bashneft’s voting rights, argued that the ruling to seize the stock was illegal.

The stock was seized by Moscow's Basmanny District Court in a probe into the alleged embezzlement of funds during the sale of Bashneft to AFK Sistema in 2009.

A claim seeking 209 billion rubles ($5.8 billion) in damages from AFK Sistema was filed by the authorities of Russia's Bashkortostan Republic, where Bashneft has its production capacities.

During the hearing on Wednsday an investigator said the stock was bought at a below-market price and that the purchase of stock for money laundering purposes was a crime.

Ural Rakhimov, who was chairman of Bashneft until April 2009, stands charged with embezzlement and laundering of the embezzled funds.

The injunction hampers Bashneft’s plans for a share offering in London.