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Amsterdam court rules sale of Yukos Finance illegal

A court in Amsterdam ruled on Wednesday that the sale of Netherlands-based Yukos Finance, an overseas subsidiary of bankrupt Russian oil company Yukos, was illegal.

The court also ruled to recognize Bruce Misamore and David Godfrey as the lawful heads of the company, which was sold in August. They were both dismissed earlier in the year from their executive posts by Yukos bankruptcy administrator Eduard Rebgun. Yukos Finance was purchased at an auction on August 15 by the little-known company Promneftstroi for 7.8 billion rubles ($307 million). The court in Amsterdam said that in line with Dutch legislation, Rebgun, appointed to oversee the Yukos bankruptcy procedure by a Russian court, had neither the right to dismiss employees, nor to appoint new people in their place.

Yukos, once Russia’s largest oil company, was declared bankrupt on August 1, 2006, after three years of litigation with tax authorities over arrears. Its founder, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, is serving an eight-year prison sentence in Siberia for fraud and tax evasion. Last Friday Rebgun said that payments to creditors of Yukos had been completed, with claims for 76 billion rubles ($3 billion) outstanding. The liquidation of Yukos was widely seen as part of the Kremlin’s drive to regain control over the country’s oil and gas sector. (