WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Russia’s Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin received a U.S. federal court subpoena on Friday while on a visit to Washington, Kudrin’s spokesman Pavel Kuznetsov said in an e-mailed statement on Saturday.
“On April 24, an unidentified person handed over some papers to Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin. Kudrin had no understanding about the content of the papers and immediately handed them over to one of his aides,” Kuznetsov said in the statement, which was written in Russian.
“As was established later, the papers were a notification, issued by the District of Columbia Federal Court, to testify in the criminal case against (ex-YUKOS CEO) Mikhail Khodorkovsky, which is being heard in a Russian court.”
Russia’s Ekho Moskvy radio station reported earlier that the subpoena was related to a lawsuit by YUKOS minority shareholders against the Russian Federation.
Kuznetsov’s statement said the subpoena had been prepared by Khodorkovsky’s lawyers but did not say whether it was related to a shareholder lawsuit.
YUKOS, once Russia’s biggest oil company, was divided up and sold by Russia after massive back-tax claims. Khodorkovsky was jailed for eight years for tax evasion and fraud.
Khodorkovsky is currently on trial on new charges that could keep him in jail for an additional 22 years. It was not immediately clear from the statement how the U.S. court subpoena related to the Russian trial.
Television footage from international Russian-language channel RTVi showed a man in suit and sunglasses, identified by the reporter as court marshal David Felter, handing over a folded paper to Kudrin outside a Washington thinktank.
In the footage, Kudrin accepted the paper. Kudrin, who is taking part in the International Monetary Fund’s spring meeting in Washington, was not available for comments on Friday or Saturday.
The statement said U.S. lawyers hired by the Russian Federation to deal with the case advised the subpoena may still be dismissed by the U.S. court.
Reporting by Gleb Bryanski, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama