Russian ex-minister gives final argument in corruption trial

Associated Press |

MOSCOW (AP) — A former Russian economic development minister on trial for bribery has accused an oil executive of setting him up.

Alexei Ulyukayev, the highest-ranking Russian official to be arrested since 1993, delivered his final argument at the trial in Moscow.

Ulyukayev was detained last year at the headquarters of Russia's largest oil producer Rosneft after a sting operation by Russia's main intelligence agency. Prosecutors say he accepted a $2 million bribe from Rosneft's influential chief executive Igor Sechin.

The former minister pleaded not guilty to the charges and told the court on Thursday he had fallen victim to "a horrific and cruel provocation."

The circumstances of the case have ignited speculation that Ulyukayev was caught in a Kremlin power play against Sechin, a longtime associate of President Vladimir Putin.

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