Russia arrests transport tycoon for embezzlement

MOSCOW • Russia arrested Summa Group co-owner Ziyavudin Magomedov (picture), who has been in talks to sell his stake in a key port, as part of case into suspected embezzlement of state funds for infrastructure and energy projects.

Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court ordered Magomedov to be held for two months and declined his request to post as bail the 2.5 billion ruble (RM170.05 million) sum he is accused of stealing, Interfax reported. He was detained earlier, along with his brother Magomed Magomedov and Artur Maksidov, an executive at a Summa Group unit.

“All of the allegations against me don’t stand up to logical criticism,” Interfax reported Magomedov as saying in court. He’ll appeal his arrest, his lawyer, Alexander Vershinin, was cited as saying.

The case against Magomedov could signal jockeying for influence and assets as President Vladimir Putin, who was re-elected earlier this month, decides on the configuration of his next government.

The Dagestani-born tycoon’s wealth surged under former President Dmitry Medvedev, in part thanks to state contracts.

Summa and state-owned oil pipe-lines operator Transneft PJSC have been in a long-running dispute over control of Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port. Together they hold 50.1% through a joint venture, while Transneft owns an additional 10.5% directly.

Transneft’s board ordered management to reach a deal with Summa under “acceptable conditions”, Transneft said on March 19. — Bloomberg