Russian oil giant bankrupted

Yukos, once Russia's biggest privately-owned oil company, is set to be declared bankrupt and its assets liquidated.

    Yukos was Russia's largest privately-owned oil firm

    Creditors of the former oil giant voted on Tuesday to ask a court to declare the company bankrupt and appoint a supervisor to sell its assets.

    The court will consider the request on August 1.

    Bankruptcy supervisor Eduard Rebgun told a creditors' meeting that Yukos' liabilities exceed its assets by about 14 billion roubles ($530 million). He valued the company's assets at about 477 billion roubles (US$18 million).

    A lawyer for Yukos, Zak Clement, claimed the company was worth $37 billion.

    Rescue plan

    Creditors rejected a last-minute rescue plan put forward by Yukos, which Rebgun's team said lacked sufficient details and analysis.

    A proposal to put the company under outside management was also turned down.

    Founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky

     has been jailed for nine years

    State-controlled oil company Rosneft and Russian tax authorities were among Yuko's creditors. Rosneft are expected to get most of the company's remaining assets.

    President Steven Theede submitted his resignation last week just before the first day of the creditors' meeting began saying Yukos had been undervalued.

    The company's problems began when it was taken apart in the courts between 2003 and 2004 due to unpaid fines and taxes.

    Last year its founder, Mikhail Khordokovsky, was jailed for nine years for financial crimes.

    The courts forced the sell-off of its major production unit Yuganskneftegaz, which produces one million barrels a day.

    It was sold to an unknown shell company at auction in December 2004 before being sold on to Rosneft days later.

    Many observers say the proceedings against Yukos are a part of a government-driven campaign to restore state influence in the oil sector and to punish Khodorkovsky for his political ambitions and support of opposition parties.

     


     

    SOURCE: Agencies


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