YukosSibneft Oil Company

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The Yukos Oil Company is Russia's second-largest oil company and one of the world's largest non-state oil companies by reserves and market capitalization. Until recently, the company was led by Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky and other prominent businessmen. Recent events have seen Yukos broken up, partially renationalized and its leaders imprisoned or exiled.

Headlines

  • Yukos became the first fully-privatized, fully-integrated oil company in Russia through a series of deals in 1995-6. Billionaire banker Khordorkovsky acquired the firm for a sum reported to be between $200 million and $1.5 million.
  • Platon Lebedev, "chairman of the financial group Menatep and one of Yukos's major shareholders," arrested July 2, 2003.[1]
  • Khodorkovsky arrested and charged with fraud and tax evasion on October 25, 2003.[2] Other Yukos executives fled Russia to avoid arrest.
  • "Yukos's stock prices [plummeted] over the summer [2003], bringing down the broader market as well." They soon rebounded due to reports of merger talks with ExxonMobil.[3]
  • The Yukos Oil Company became the YukosSibneft Oil Company on October 3, 2003, with the merger of Yukos and "a smaller rival, Sibneft.... [together] valued at $45 billion, [which] creates Russia's largest oil and gas company and the world's fifth largest private oil company."
  • In its December 2004 attempt to file for bankruptcy in a US court, Yukos listed Burson-Marsteller as amongst its top 20 unsecured creditors with the PR company being owed $1 million.[4] Russia dismissed the US court orders, saying it had no jurisdiction.
  • Yukos was broken up when the Russian government auctioned off its main production unit, Yuganskneftegas, to a relative unknown for $9.35 billion on December 19, 2004. Four days later, the purchasing company is in turn bought out by the state-owned oil firm Rosneft, effectively renationalizing Yuganskneftegas.[5]
  • Khordorkovsky and Lebedev were found guilty of six charges including tax evasion and were each sentenced to nine years in prison on May 31, 2005.[6] Khordorkovsky's supporters believe his trial was political move by the Kremlin as punishment for his financial support of pro-Western opposition parties, and that he was already judged guilty before trial.

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