Alexei Ulyukayev, the first serving Russian minister to be arrested since the fall of the Soviet Union, will appear in court on Tuesday, after being accused of soliciting a bribe from the country’s largest oil company.
The former Economic Development Minister has been under house arrest since his detention in the dead of night last November after having allegedly demanded $2 million to approve the purchase by Rosneft of Bashneft, another oil firm. He faces up to 15 years in prison.
The arrest sent shockwaves through the Russian business community. Even Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev seemed to be caught off guard, saying: “It’s beyond comprehension.”