Vladimir Yevtushenkov
Vladimir Yevtushenkov

A Moscow court on Thursday dismissed a complaint against the arrest of one of Russia’s richest businessmen.

Vladimir Yevtushenkov
Vladimir Yevtushenkov

The Moscow City Court upheld a lower court’s decision from last week to put Vladimir Yevtushenkov under house arrest, Russian news agencies reported.

The ruling, which was issued on the day of his 66th birthday, means that Yevtushenkov remains under arrest until November 16. Yevtushnkov is slso barred from going to his workplace and making calls.

Shares of Yevtushenkov’s technology holding AFK Sistema took another plunge after Thursday’s decision. Sistema stock had fallen by about 30 per cent after the initial arrest last week, amid concerns about a fresh crackdown on oligarchs in Russia.

Investigators accuse Yevtushenkov of embezzlement and money laundering in connection with the sale of the Bashneft oil company.

Yevtushenkov has rejected the accusations as baseless. His lawyers argue that Sistema’s acquisition of Bashneft in 2009 was legal and that the company could not function normally as long as its chairman was under house arrest.

Yevtushenkov did not personally appear in court.

His case has evoked memories of Russian billionaire Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who spent 10 years in jail on similar charges before he was released in December.

The Kremlin has rejected any comparison with Khodorkovsky. Unlike Khodorkovsky, Yevtushenkov has never shown any political ambitions.

Experts nevertheless agree that the arrest deals another blow to Russia’s business climate, which is already massively burdened by Western sanctions imposed over Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

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