The Arbitration Court of the Chukotka Autonomous Region has seized 15 percent of Sibneft shares, out of YUKOS's 35 percent stake in the oil company, Dmitry Gololobov, the head of YUKOS’s legal department, told Echo of Moscow radio late on Tuesday. This means that YUKOS would not be able to settle its tax debts by selling its stake in Sibneft.
According to Mr. Gololobov, YUKOS had previously offered the Court Bailiffs Service its full Sibneft stake, which is estimated at $4bn, but the court bailiffs rejected the offer.
The lawyer expressed surprise over the way the court bailiffs were implementing the court decision (the Arbitration Court of Moscow ruled that the oil company shall pay RUR 99.3bn, or about $3.4bn, in back taxes and fines). Although the company was ready to pay the money, he said, the Court Bailiffs Service was initiating criminal proceedings against YUKOS under Article 315 of the Russian Criminal Code (failure to comply with a court judgment).
In Mr. Gololobov’s opinion, some forces are preventing the company from implementing the court decision. He expressed hope that the Court Bailiffs Service would “follow the letter of the law” in the future, and take into account the remaining part of YUKOS’s stake in Sibneft.