MOSCOW, December 15 (RAPSI) – The Zamoskvoretsky District Court of Moscow on Friday found former Russia’s economy minister Alexey Ulyukayev guilty of receiving $2 million in bribes, RAPSI reported from the courtroom.

Before starting a sentencing hearing Ulyukayev told journalists that he believed in justice and hoped for acquittal.

On December 4, a prosecutor demanded a 10-year term in a high security penal colony and a 500-million-ruble fine (nearly $8.5 million) for Ulyukayev. Defense asked the court to acquit ex-minister.

Ulyukayev was arrested on November 14, 2016, when leaving the office of Rosneft oil company. The Federal Security Service’s (FSB) officers found a bag holding $2 million in cash in his official car.

Ulyukayev was charged with extortion a grand bribe. According to the Investigative Committee, he threatened to create obtrusions for Rosneft with the use of his position. On November 15, 2016, he was put under house arrest. Later in the evening, President Vladimir Putin relieved Ulyukayev of his post because of loss of trust.

Ex-minister pleaded not guilty and stated that he believed the case was fabricated. The defendant noted that there was a provocation, orchestrated by the Federal Security Service (FSB) and that there was no sound evidence in the case, aside from testimony provided by Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin.

Trial of Ulyukayev began in mid-August. The court questioned 15 witnesses including the Economy Ministry officials, Ulyukayev’s driver, Rosneft employees, journalists and FSB officers.

Sechin was summoned for interrogation four times but he failed to appear in court. A judge refused to read out his testimony given during pre-trial investigation.

Over 564 million rubles ($9.5 million) and 15 property items belonging to the former minister have been seized by court.