MOSCOW, March 9 (RAPSI) – The Vienna Regional Criminal Court has refused to extradite former Bashneft CEO Ural Rakhimov to Russia where he stands accused of embezzling over 210 billion rubles (about $2.9 billion), RIA Novosti reported on Wednesday.
“I can’t say if he is going to stay in Austria but this time he will not be extradited to Russia,” the court’s judge Christina Salzborn said.
Salzborn did not rule out a possibility of other attempts by Russia to extradite Rakhimov, although additional arguments would be needed to make it happen.
Bashneft was controlled by the government of Russia’s Bashkortostan region until 2003, when a major stake was sold to companies affiliated with Ural Rakhimov, son of the former head of Bashkortostan Murtaza Rakhimov.
The company was privatized in 2009, when Russian oil-to-telecoms conglomerate Sistema gained control of it.
A court in Moscow ruled that Bashneft was privatized in violation of law. The Prosecutor General's Office brought a suit to return a 71.6 percent stake in Bashneft to the government. The Moscow Commercial Court ruled on October 30, 2014, in favor of the Prosecutor General's Office.
Rakhimov, who has been living in Austria for the past six years, has reportedly received a residence permit there and hopes to get Austrian citizenship soon.
The Basmanny District Court of Moscow has issued a warrant for Rakhimov’s arrest in absentia.