MOSCOW, February 6 (RAPSI) – The legal defense of former Bashneft CEO Ural Rakhimov seeks to partially close an embezzlement case against him because of the expiry of the period of limitation, RIA Novosti reports on Monday.

According to Rakhimov’s lawyer Sergey Makarenko, the period of limitation relating to an episode, which expired in December of 2016. He added that Rakhimov did not admit his guilt but agreed to the termination of his case because of a non-exonerating circumstance.

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 Sistema gained control of it.

A court in Moscow ruled that Bashneft was privatized in violation of law. The Prosecutor General's Office brought a suit to return a 71.6 percent stake in Bashneft to the government. The Moscow Commercial Court ruled on October 30, 2014, in favor of the Prosecutor General's Office.

Rakhimov, who has been living in Austria for the past six years, has reportedly received a residence permit there and hopes to get Austrian citizenship soon.

The Basmanny District Court of Moscow has issued a warrant for Rakhimov’s arrest in absentia.

On March 9 of 2016, the Vienna Regional Criminal Court refused to extradite former Bashneft CEO Ural Rakhimov to Russia.