MOSCOW, January 18 (RAPSI, Artem Ponomarev) - A prominent Armenian businessman Levon Airapetyan pleaded not guilty to stealing $700,000 from the mother of former Bashkortostan senator Igor Izmestyev who had been convicted of terrorism and sentenced to life in prison, RAPSI reported on Monday from Moscow’s Zamoskvoretsky District Court.

According to Airapetyan’s lawyer, the case has been framed up.

Investigators believe that the businessman has misled the woman by promising a reduced sentence for her son. In practice, he could not influence the judgment.

He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Airapetyan also stands charged with involvement in an embezzlement case under which Ural Rakhimov, son of the former head of Bashkortostan Murtaza Rakhimov, sold Bashneft, a midsized oil company he headed for three years, to the oil-to-telecoms conglomerate Sistema in 2009 at a huge “discount” of $500 million.

Airapetyan holds dual citizenship, has assets abroad and was until recently living in Monaco. Prosecutors presented this information as grounds for arrest. In early October 2014, Airapetyan was placed under house arrest. His defense attorney asked the court to release him, citing health problems.