Yukos buyer named

Private oil company Surgutneftegaz is the mystery purchaser of the assets of the Yukos empire auctioned to a shell company, Russian daily Gazeta has said.

    Analysts view Surgutneftegaz as Putin-friendly

    Surgutneftegaz purchased the main assets of the Yukos empire auctioned for $9.35 billion, the paper said on Tuesday. 

     

    Analysts quoted by the paper, which described Surgutneftegaz as friendly to the administration of President Vladimir Putin, said the company might later sell all or part of the Yukos assets to Gazprom, the state-owned gas concern which has been widely rumoured as the intended final purchaser of the oil interests.

     

    Other analysts had already named Surgutneftegaz as the possible buyer of the Yukos assets, which were put on the block to pay off a massive tax bill claimed by the Russian government.


    Link to Baikal
     

    Gazeta added that two people who represented the obscure Baikalfinansgroup company, which bid successfully for the assets at Sunday's auction in the city of Tver, were linked to Surgutneftegaz.

     

    A Baikal representative (L)
    outbid Gazprom

    One of them, Valentina Davletgareeva, was part-owner of a subsidiary of Surgutneftegaz, and the other, Igor Minibayev, was a director of the same company, it said.

     

    Given the presence of the two at the auction, it was logical to suppose that the company which put up the $1.7 billion bond necessary to take part in the auction was Surgutneftegaz, the paper wrote.

     

    Analysts of the UFG investment company said: "Surgutneftegaz is the only company which would have a reason to register a firm in Tver, as it has interests there."

    Baikalfinansgroup, which is widely seen as a front for other buyers, was registered in Tver, a city northwest of Moscow.

    SOURCE: AFP


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