Yukos chief quits before creditor meeting

24-08-2006

The chief executive of Russian oil giant, Yukos Oil, announced his resignation yesterday ahead of a meeting with creditors that he claimed would be a "sham".

American Steven Theede said the Russian oil firm was in such poor shape that restructuring was no longer an option and liquidation was the only viable alternative as the firm faces $33 billion in back-tax claims.

Analysts said Yukos may offload its stake in Gazprom Neft if restructuring goes ahead.

After the High Court rejected a bid by Yukos to block Rosneft's stock market flotation, Mr Theede told the board of directors: "I have exhausted all possibilities that I can personally control to either preserve or recover value for the company as a result of the expropriation of Yuganskneftegas."

State-owned oil firm Rosneft acquired the Yuganskneftegas field in an enforced auction, which Yukos has claimed was tantamount to theft.

Rosneft raised $10.4 billion (£5.7 billion) in a flotation on the London Stock Exchange this week.

It is also rumoured Gazprom is interested in buying a 20 per cent stake in Gazpromneft, formerly known as Sibneft, from Yukos.

Yukos' stake in Gazpromneft is estimated to be worth $4.2 billion.


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