MOSCOW, May 20 (RAPSI) – Austria has granted former Bashneft CEO Ural Rakhimov who stands accused in Russia of embezzling over 210 billion rubles (about $4.3 billion) residence permit, Kommersant newspaper reported on Wednesday.
The Vienna Criminal Court is considering a Russian request to extradite Rakhimov. A judge has appointed the next hearing for mid-July. Rakhimov has not been detained.
Kommersant writes that prosecutors have not requested any form of detainment for the fugitive businessman. The newspaper’s sources said he likely received a residence permit and probably hopes to become an Austrian citizen.
Under the Austrian constitution, Austria does not extradite its citizens. However, newspaper sources said a local oversight agency would be obliged to review the grounds on which Rakhimov was granted residence.
Rakhimov’s defense attorney declined to comment.
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, the 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.
Sistema filed a lawsuit with the Moscow Commercial Court seeking 70.7 billion rubles ($1.4 billion) in damages from Ural-Invest over the forfeiture of Bashneft stock.
Rakhimov was charged in absentia with embezzlement and money laundering and put on the international wanted list.