Russian bailiffs order core assets of Yukos to be seized

Yukos faced its worst nightmare yesterday when bailiffs for the Russian government announced that they would seize the jewel in its crown - its main oil production unit in Siberia - and sell it for a fraction of its market value to recoup an unpaid tax bill of $3.4bn (£1.83bn).

Yukos faced its worst nightmare yesterday when bailiffs for the Russian government announced that they would seize the jewel in its crown - its main oil production unit in Siberia - and sell it for a fraction of its market value to recoup an unpaid tax bill of $3.4bn (£1.83bn).

The drastic measure sent shares in Yukos tumbling by up to 10 per cent on Moscow's Micex exchange and trading had to be suspended at one point. The seizure of the western Siberian daughter company, Yuganskneftegaz, appeared to mark the beginning of the end for the troubled firm once run by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Russia's richest man, and confirms that the Kremlin intended to tear it apart piece by piece.

"It seems excessive. They've gone right to the heart of Yukos - it almost seems like a pre-emptive strike to destroy the company," said Stephen O'Sullivan, co-head of research at United Financial Group.

Mr Khodorkovsky, who is on trial for fraud and embezzlement, has already offered to give up his huge stake in the firm to pay the tax bill but the government appears to have ignored his proposal. Most Western observers believe that Mr Khodorkovsky, worth $15.2bn according to Forbes magazine, is being punished for his unsanctioned forays into politics; forays which he used to criticise the President, Vladimir Putin.

Its assets have already been frozen making it impossible for Yukos to pay off the tax bill by raising cash through an asset sale and now, according to analysts, it can only sit back and watch its own dismemberment. It may never recover from the loss of Yuganskneftegaz.

The subsidiary produces one in every eight barrels of Russian oil and is on its own the world's 13th or 14th biggest producer, outstrippingIraq. Yukos sources said it accounted for almost 60 per cent of the company's output and turned out almost 2 billion barrels every year. "It's like performing a heart transplant on a man with a cough," said Maxim Shein, an analyst at BrokerCreditService. "The sale of Yugansk will destroy the integrity of the company."

Company sources said they couldn't believe what was happening. "The international community should not allow the Russian government to get away with this," said one stunned executive. Another source said the bailiffs had indicated they intended to sell Yuganskneftegaz for $1.75bn, whereas analysts have valued it at $12bn and its oil reserves alone are worth some $30bn.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee