MOSCOW, December 25 (RAPSI) – AFK Sistema holding company has filed a suit with the Moscow Commercial Court seeking about 70.7 billion rubles (about $1.4 billion) in damages over forfeiture of Bashneft shares, RAPSI learnt in the court on Thursday.

Ural-Invest controlled by former Bashneft CEO Ural Rakhimov is named as a defendant in the suit.

Bashneft 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.

A court in Moscow ruled that privatization of Bashneft was held in violation of law. The Prosecutor General's Office brought a suit to return 71.6 percent stake in Bashneft back to the government. The Moscow Commercial Court ruled on October 30 in favor of the Prosecutor General's Office.

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.

Yevtushenkov, the Sistema board chairman, was placed under house arrest as well. On December 17, Yevtushenkov was released after he pledged to appear before a court if he is summoned.