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Yukos ordered to give $850 mln to shareholders

A Dutch court has ruled that shareholders of Yukos should receive $850 million of a loan the embattled Russian oil firm failed to pay back when it went bankrupt, the company said on Wednesday.

In 2003 Cyprus-based Moravel gave Russia’s Yukos a $1.6 billion loan, of which just over half remains. Moravel is a subsidiary of GML, which was Yukos’ largest shareholder group. “We have tried from day one of the Russian Federation’s attack against the company to do everything in our power to fulfill management’s obligations to legitimate creditors,” Yukos’ former chief financial officer, Bruce Misamore, said in a statement.

Once Russia’s largest oil company, Yukos was brought to its knees under a multibillion-dollar back-tax claim that led to its bankruptcy and asset sales at state-forced auctions, most of which were snatched up by state oil major Rosneft. Yukos’ ex-owner and previously Russia’s richest man, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, is serving a nine-year prison sentence in Siberia after what is seen as a vendetta against him by the Kremlin for his political ambitions. Moravel had unsuccessfully filed the case for unpaid debt through London and Moscow courts since Yukos eclared bankruptcy in 2006. “(We are in) the arduous process of trying to identify over 50,000 shareholders who should receive compensation,” Misamore said, adding that Dutch foundations, which allowed Moravel to mount the case in the Netherlands, were formed to protect Yukos’ international assets. (Reuters)