MOSCOW, December 18 (RAPSI) – Moscow's Basmanny District Court issued an arrest warrant for former CEO of midsized oil producer Bashneft Ural Rakhimov, who is suspected of stealing shares of Bashkir energy companies, Kommersant newspaper reported on Thursday.

The newspaper writes that the arrest warrant is necessary to request Rakhimov’s extradition.

Attorney Ilnur Salimyanov said they would appeal against the “illegal ruling” at the Moscow City Court. Rakhimov’s attorney added that the actions for which his client has been charged refer to business activity and cannot be made the subject of a criminal investigation.

According to the media, the court also issued a ruling to place Rakhimov, who went to Austria for health reasons, on the international wanted list.

The government of Russia’s Bashkortostan republic controlled Bashneft until 2003, when a major stake was sold to companies affiliated with Ural Rakhimov, the son of the former head of Bashkortostan Murtaza Rakhimov. Russian oil-to-telecoms conglomerate AFK Sistema gained control of the company during its privatization in 2009.

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.

Yevtushenkov, the Sistema board chairman and one of Russia’s richest people, was placed under house arrest. According to his lawyer, Vladimir Kozin, the oligarch was released on Wednesday on the condition of honoring investigation summons.