Russian markets panic over Yukos

Shock waves were sent through the Russian financial markets when the government froze a major stake in oil giant Yukos.

    Mikhail Khodorkovsky has more than a 59.5% frozen stake

    The Russian stock market plunged 8.14 % on Thursday after the government action.

    The RTS index closed 8.14% lower at 496.66 points, and has lost nearly 17% in just four days following the arrest of Yukos chief executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

    The prosecutor general's office said on Thursday it had sequestered 44.1% of shares in Yukos owned by its holding company, but denied the aim was to strip Khodorkovsky of his dominant stake in Russia's largest oil producer.

    Khodorkovsky owns 59.5% of the frozen stake, prosecutors and analysts said.

    Khodorkovsky was arrested by
    armed agents from Russia's FSB

    Shares in Yukos tumbled 5% within minutes of the report of the freezing, which came about an hour before the market closed.

    Yukos shares ended 14.05% lower at 10.40 dollars. The share has shed 35% of its value since 17 October.

    "This is the worst nightmare in the spectrum of possibilities" in the Yukos affair, Konstantin Rexnikov, an oil sector analyst at Alfa Bank, said Thursday.

    "The investors have lost tonight. They have the impression that the Yukos affair is out of control," he said.

    Khodorkovsky, whose oil group has been at the c

    "The investors have lost tonight. They have the impression that the Yukos affair is out of control"

    Konstantin Rexnikov
    Alfa Bank

    entre of a wide-ranging fraud investigation for months, was pulled off a corporate jet at a Siberian airport at dawn on Saturday and flown back to Moscow.

    The tycoon, whose fortune was estimated by Forbes business magazine earlier this year at eight billion dollars, was charged on seven counts of fraud and tax evasion and imprisoned.

    The arrest has been widely seen in Moscow as politically motivated after Khodorkovsky financed opposition parties standing in the 7 December parliamentary elections.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.