World Bulletin / News Desk
A Russian court on Friday sentenced former economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev to eight years in a penal colony on charges of taking a $2 million bribe from an ally of President Vladimir Putin.
A Moscow court ruled he must also pay a fine of 130 million roubles ($2.2 million) for taking the bribe from Igor Sechin, head of the state oil giant Rosneft, in a sting operation.
Judge Larisa Semyonova said the eight years would be served in a "harsh regime" colony. Prosecutors had sought a ten-year sentence.
Ulyukayev has denied the charges, which he has called "absurd", saying he was entrapped by Sechin.
Before the ruling he made an effort to appear upbeat with reporters, saying he was expecting a fair hearing and gesturing only to a briefcase of documents when asked if he had brought any belongings with him.
After being handed a bunch of white roses, he said, "I'm told that they are from a fan. The important thing is that my wife doesn't find out."
Previously he said a long sentence in a harsh-regime colony, most of which are in remote locations and offer prisoners little contact with families, would effectively be a death sentence.
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