The head of the Russian state oil giant Rosneft says he will appear as a witness in the high-profile bribery case of a former minister when he can fit it into his schedule.
Former Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev was arrested in November 2016 for allegedly soliciting a $2-million bribe from Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin and faces up to 15 years of imprisonment. Prosecutors say Ulyukayev asked for the sum to sign off on Rosneft’s acquisition of another oil firm last year.
Sechin was added to the witness list on day one of the trial but has already failed to appear in court twice.
Sechin on Thursday told the RBC business portal that he would "try to fulfill all the requirements of Russian law.”
“But at this stage, my chief task is to fulfill my functional duties as president of the company Rosneft," he said.
"As soon as we can coordinate schedules, I will unquestionably fulfill the necessary responsibilities," he added.
Sechin failed to appear in court on Nov. 13 because he was reportedly taking part in talks between President Vladimir Putin and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A Rosneft spokesperson said Sechin missed the Nov. 15 appearance because he was “on a business trip.”
Russia's postal system insisted the registered court notice was delivered to his home after his office refused to take it. The summons was also sent by fax and e-mail, the independent news site Republic reported.