MOSCOW, August 8 (RAPSI, Oleg Sivozhelezov) – The Zamoskvoretsky District Court of Moscow will begin hearings in the case against former Russia's Economy Minister Alexey Ulyukayev, who stands charged with extorting a $2 million bribe, on August 16, the court’s press-service told RAPSI on Tuesday.

Earlier today the court extended house arrest for Ulyukayev until January 27. The defendant’s motion to return the case to a prosecutor was dismissed. While proceeding to a courtroom, Ulyukayev told journalists that he does not plead guilty.

Ulyukayev was arrested while receiving a bribe in mid-November 2016. He allegedly demanded Russian state-controlled oil giant Rosneft’s representative to pay him $2 million for lawfully providing a positive review and evaluation of a deal that allowed Rosneft to acquire government’s share in mid-sized producer Bashneft. According to the Investigative Committee, the former minister threatened to create obtrusions for Rosneft with the use of his position.

On November 15, the ex-minister was put under house arrest. Later in the evening, President Vladimir Putin relieved Ulyukayev of his post because of loss of trust.

The Basmanny District Court has seized Ulyukayev’s property valued at over 564 million rubles (about $9.5 million).