MOSCOW, April 12 (RAPSI, Nikita Shiryayev) – A prosecutor asked the Moscow City Court on Thursday to uphold an 8-year prison sentence given to the former Russian economy minister Alexey Ulyukayev for bribery, RAPSI reported from the court.

According to the prosecutor, punishment imposed on Ulyukayev is just.

On Thursday, the court is considering an appeal filed by ex-minister against his sentence. During the hearing the court granted the prosecutor's motion for interrogation of Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin. 

Ulyukayev was sentenced to 8 years in high security prison and a 130-million-ruble fine (about $2 million) on December 15, 2017. Moscow’s Zamoskvoretsky District Court held that his involvement in the bribery was proven by witnesses’ testimony and other examined evidence. The defendant’s words about innocence were regarded as attempt to evade criminal liability.

Ulyukayev was arrested on November 14, 2016, when leaving the office of Rosneft oil company. The Federal Security Service’s (FSB) officers found a bag holding $2 million in cash in his official car. He was charged with extortion a grand bribe. According to the Investigative Committee, he threatened to create obtrusions for Rosneft with the use of his position.

The former minister stated that the case was fabricated. The defendant noted that there was a provocation, orchestrated by the Federal Security Service (FSB) and that there was no sound evidence in the case, aside from testimony provided by Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin.

President Vladimir Putin relieved Ulyukayev of his post because of loss of trust on November 15, 2016.