Vladimir Yevtushenkov, one of Russia’s richest men, has been placed under house arrest on charges of money laundering, the Financial Times reported.
The case is connected to his company’s acquisition of oil producer Bashneft.
Yevtushenkov is the chairman and majority shareholder of AFK Sistema, one of Russia’s largest private corporations. Forbes ranks him the 15th richest man in Russia with a net worth of US$6.8 billion.
Russia’s investigative committee said on Tuesday it was probing the alleged theft of shares in energy assets in Bashkortostan, a region in central Russia where Bashneft operates.
It said there were “reasonable grounds” to suspect that Yevtushenkov was involved in legalizing property acquired through criminal means, the report said. Sistema has denied the allegations.
The announcement came amid media reports that Rosneft, the state-controlled oil group, was interested in buying Bashneft. Rosneft declined to comment on the reports.
Rosneft is headed by Igor Sechin, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the newspaper.
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