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Yukos Is Bankrupt

Russia's once leading oil company Yukos was declared bankrupt

Russia's once leading oil company Yukos was declared bankrupt by a Moscow Court of Arbitration on Tuesday, Russian news agencies reported.

Yukos' interim manager Eduard Rebgun said Yukos had debts of 18.26 billion U.S. dollars, while its assets were worth only 17.72 billion dollars, and that the company was therefore insolvent.

The court's decision can be appealed within one month.

The court also ruled the authority of the debtor's executive bodies be terminated and obliged its management to transfer the accounting documents and the company seal to the receivership manager.

Yukos was largely dismembered by the state when it could not meet demands for more than 25 billion dollars in back taxes and fines that were imposed after Yukos' founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky was arrested in 2003 on tax fraud charges.

Insolvency proceedings began last March at the request of a consortium of western banks led by Societe Generale that extended the company a one-billion-dollar credit earlier in 2003.

Rebgun said it will take long to sell company assets.

"Yukos is a huge empire. It goes beyond traditions, and it is impossible to say when the property may be sold," Rebgun was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as saying, following the hearings.

Rebgun said he would analyze documents concerning company assets, make an inventory and decide which assets would be put on the auction first.

"This is a huge pile of documents, and it will take more than a month or two to make a selling decision," Rebgun said.