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Kremlin Adviser Condemns State Buyout Of Yukos

by Tatiana Smolenskaya, for LawAndTax-News.com, Moscow

30 December 2004


Speaking this week, Kremlin economic adviser Andrei Illarionov condemned the effective renationalisation of Yukos as "the fraud of the year", a move likely to anger President Putin, who has described the deal as "absolutely legal".

It emerged over the Christmas period that Russian state-owned oil major Rosneft has acquired Baikal Finance, the mystery buyer of Yukos's prize asset Yuganskneftegaz.

Rosneft is due shortly to merge with gas and pipeline giant Gazprom, a closing of the circle defended by President Putin, who justified the move by observing that:

"We all know perfectly well how privatization at the beginning of the '90s was conducted and how some market participants got multibillion state assets using different tricks, including some violations of then-existing legislation."

According to reports in the international media, speaking with regard to the effective government takeover of Yukos' main asset, Mr Illarionov suggested that:

"We used to see street hustlers do this kind of thing. Now officials are doing it."

He went on to add:

"The destruction of Yukos has led to the flight of foreign investors from this company, who have to move their assets into consortiums linked to the authorities."


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