MOSCOW, December 2 (RAPSI) – The Moscow Commercial Court has dismissed a motion filed by AFK Sistema seeking to lift the arrest of disputed Bashneft shares, RAPSI reports on Tuesday from the courtroom.
The judge recommended that Sistema file a new motion on December 8, when the ruling ordering to return all of its stake in Bashneft to the state becomes effective.
On September 25, the court seized 122.9 million common and 6.1 million priority Bashneft stock owned by Sistema and its subsidiary Sistema-Invest. On October 30, the court ruled in favor of nationalizing the stake.
A source close to Sistema told RIA Novosti that the company had filed a motion to highlight the fact that the Bashneft stock could not be nationalized unless the arrest is lifted. Sistema thus demonstrated its willingness to cooperate with the authorities and to abide by the court ruling returning shares in Bashneft to the state, according to the source.
Bashneft was privatized in 2009. It 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.
In 2009, Russian oil-to-telecoms conglomerate Sistema gained control of the company. Investigators opened a criminal case last April linked to Bashneft share transactions in 2002 to 2009.
Rakhimov and billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov were implicated in the unlawful sale of Bashneft stock in 2009. Rakhimov was charged in absentia with embezzlement and money laundering and put on the international wanted list. Yevtushenkov, the board chairman and largest beneficiary of Sistema, stands charged with money laundering.