Vladimir Yevtushenkov, one of Russia’s richest men, has been placed under house arrest on accusations of money laundering.
The arrest brought accusations from the fallen oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, released from prison by Vladimir Putin last year, that the move was linked to Kremlin interest in Yevtushenkov’s oil assets. Rosneft, the state-owned oil group, dismissed Khodorkovsky’s comments as “absurd”, on Wednesday morning.
Yevtushenkov, who is worth $9bn (£5.5bn) according to Forbes magazine Russia, was arrested late on Tuesday. The billionaire is the chairman and largest shareholder of Sistema, a conglomerate whose board members include the Labour peer Lord Mandelson.
Sistema controls Russia’s largest mobile phone operator, MTS, the oil company Bashneft and other lucrative assets. The accusations relate to Yevtushenkov’s acquisition of Bashneft, one of the few Russian oil producers that is not under state control.
Sistema said it considers the accusations baseless. Shares in Sistema collapsed by 28% in the first half hour of trading at Moscow’s MICEX stock exchange on Wednesday.
No, leave aside guilt or not, likely being a bad’un or not. And the real point being that the first question on everyone’s lips was, “What the fuck has he done to piss off Putin?”
Which tells you rather a lot about Russia Today really…..