Putin defends state's role in Yukos deal

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the state was protecting its interests by buying the main asset of oil giant Yukos, in the first renationalisation of the post-Soviet era.

    Putin justified the state's move to buy Yukos' core subsidiary

    Referring to the acquisition by state petroleum company Rosneft of Yukos' core oil-pumping subsidiary, Yuganskneftegaz, Putin insisted on Thursday that the Kremlin's move was "absolutely legal".

     

    He told an annual press conference in Moscow: "Today the state, using absolutely legal market mechanisms, is protecting its interests. I consider that absolutely normal."

     

    Justification

     

    Putin justified the state's actions by criticising the murky 1990s privatisations which handed control of the crown jewels of the Russian economy to a handful of well-connected businessmen, including Khodorkovsky.

      

    "Today the state, using absolutely legal market mechanisms, is protecting its interests. I consider that absolutely normal"

    Vladimir Putin,
    Russian President

    "I already said that state companies, like other market participants, had the right [to buy Yugansk]. They used this right," he said.

      

    "Everyone knows exactly how the privatisations took place in the early 1990s, and how they used various tricks, including those which violated even the existing laws. "Many market players won the rights to multi-billion-dollar state assets," Putin said.

     

    Big business

      

    Rosneft became on Thursday the new owner of Yuganskneftegaz after buying the mystery firm which had won a secretive weekend auction for the Siberian production arm.

      

    Rosneft, which is merging with state-run gas monopoly Gazprom to create a national oil and gas corporation, issued a surprise announcement just before midnight saying it had acquired 100% of the shares of previously unknown Baikalfinansgroup.

     

    Baikalfinansgroup, which won the rights to Yukos' Siberian crown jewel after offering $9.35 billion, had been seen as a front company for Kremlin interests.

     

    The deal cements Kremlin control of the strategic energy sector after almost 18 months of attacks on Yukos and its imprisoned billionaire founder, Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

    SOURCE: AFP


    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.