November 20, 2016 / 11:50 PM / a year ago

Putin said Rosneft stake sale on the track despite minister's arrest

LIMA, Nov 20 (Reuters) - A criminal case against Russia’s former Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev has no impact on ongoing privatisation deals, including the stake sale in oil firm Rosneft, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday.

Putin dismissed Ulyukayev on Tuesday over allegations he extorted a $2 million bribe from top oil producer Rosneft, a case that could expose fault lines in the Russian leader’s inner circle.

“We will not revise our previously (made) privatisations plans”, he told a news conference in Lima after the APEC summit.

Ulyukayev’s ministry is overseeing a politically charged sale of state assets as the government intends to plug holes in the budget this year.

“It’s clear that both the government and Rosneft’s management will work out on Rosneft’s shares sale”, he said.

The Russian state is preparing to sell a 19.5 percent stake in Rosneft, the biggest Russian oil producer and one of the largest in the world.

Rosneft is expected to buy back the 19.5 percent stake from Rosneftegaz, the state holding company, which altogether owns 69.5 percent of Rosneft, with a view to reselling the shares to investors in the first quarter of next year.

Putin said the resell would ahead and that his confidence in government has not waned even after the minister was put under house arrest.

The state is seeking to raise about 700 billion roubles ($11 billion) from the sale of the 19.5 percent stake in Rosneft. (Writing by Denis Pinchuk; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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