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Yukos owes more than $26.8 bln, bankruptcy supervisor says

OAO Yukos Oil Co. owes more than 709 bln rubles ($26.8 bln) to creditors, the external manager of the bankrupt oil company said.

The largest creditor is the Federal Tax Service, claiming 429 billion rubles, followed by state-run oil company OAO Rosneft with 264 billion rubles in claims, Nikolai Lashkevich, a spokesman for Yukos's receiver, said in an e-mailed statement today. The company's first assets are expected to be auctioned off this spring. Yukos was declared bankrupt last year after it was unable to pay back debts because of a multibillion tax bill. The company's former CEO, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, is serving an eight-year prison sentence in Siberia for tax evasion and fraud. He and his former business partner, Platon Lebedev, face new charges of embezzling 850 billion rubles from Yukos. The men have maintained their innocence, claiming they are the victims of a political campaign started by President Vladimir Putin. (Bloomberg)