MOSCOW, September 25 (RAPSI) - Billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov, the board chairman of Russia’s holding company AFK Sistema, will remain under house arrest, according to the ruling issued by The Basmanny District Court on Thursday.
Last Friday, Sistema claimed that Yevtushenkov had been released on bail. However, later that day Vladimir Markin, the official spokesperson for the Investigative Committee, denied the allegations. He told journalists that the incident would be checked. Shortly after the message was released, Sistema stock experienced a surge on the markets, before the message was revealed to be a hoax.
Before the trial, the defense upped the bail bond for Yevtushenkov to 300 million rubles ($7,8 mln). According to the defense, the sum would guarantee that Yevtushenkov wouldn't leave the country, evade justice and pressure the witnesses.
Yevtushenkov, who has pleaded not guilty, was charged with money laundering under a case on alleged embezzlement and money laundering during the sale of Bashneft to Sistema in 2009. The court ruled that he be placed under house arrest in his mansion near Moscow until November 16.
Sistema said the charges were unfounded and that it would use all available legal options to settle the conflict.
Sistema is one of Russia’s top 10 companies by revenue. Its largest assets are mobile operator MTS (a 53.5% stake) and Bashneft (89%).
Investigators believe that Bashneft shares were sold in 2009 at a huge “discount” of $500 million. The former head of Bashneft, Ural Rakhimov, was charged with embezzlement during the transaction and the subsequent laundering of the funds.
The investigation will determine the role Sistema played in the transaction and the individual who approved it.