HE WAS back in favour, or so it appeared. After spending several months under house arrest in late 2014, Vladimir Yevtushenkov, a Russian oligarch, relinquished control of Bashneft, a midsized oil firm, to the state. “If you like another company tomorrow and want to take it, you are welcome,” he told Vladimir Putin at the time, he later recalled. The president publicly gave his approval to Sistema, Mr Yevtushenkov’s conglomerate, shares in which had plunged. Mr Yevtushenkov subsequently appeared at annual Kremlin receptions and late last year joined a presidential delegation to Crimea.
Now he is under pressure again, facing a lawsuit from Rosneft, a state-run oil giant, which is demanding 171bn roubles ($2.8bn) in damages. Rosneft’s boss is Igor Sechin, a Putin confidant, who many in Moscow reckon orchestrated the initial 2014 case against Mr Yevtushenkov as well. (Rosneft and Mr Sechin have denied any involvement in it.) Late last year, Rosneft purchased Bashneft from the state…Continue reading