A Moscow court on Tuesday postponed hearing a lawsuit filed by the buyer of the Yukos oil company's biggest production unit, which sought to sue the shattered company to the tune of US$11 billion (Ђ8 billion) for lost profits and unpaid taxes.
State-owned Rosneft, which bought Yukos' 1 million barrels per day Yuganskneftegaz unit after a disputed Dec. 19 auction, alleges that the unit's former owners mismanaged the facility and should be the ones who pay the $5.1 billion (EUR3.8 billion) that Russia's tax authorities say Yuganskneftegaz owes.
In addition, Rosneft claims Yukos bought Yuganskneftegaz's oil at artificially low prices, costing the unit a further $6 billion (EUR4.5 billion) in lost profits, the Vedomosti daily reported, citing court documents filed by Yuganskneftegaz against its former parent at the start of March.
Alexander Remigailo, a spokesman for the Moscow Arbitration court, said Rosneft's suit had been ignored because the plaintiff, Yuganskneftegaz, had failed to submit documents showing its had paid state duties of 200,000 rubles ($7,300, EUR5,456).
Yuganskneftegaz has one month to provide the necessary documentation before the case can be reconsidered, he said.
Yukos continue to fight the more than $28 billion (EUR21 billion) in tax claims piled on by Russian authorities last year, which lead to Yuganskneftegaz's sale. Observers have said the auction was more about the Kremlin gaining control of a strategic chunk of the domestic oil industry and punishing a political rival than seeing back tax bills paid.
Rosneft chief Sergei Bogdanchikov had promised to make Yukos pay for Yuganskneftegaz's bills at the start of the year while on a working visit to Russia's Far East.
"As a result of a specific policy, which Yukos conducted in relation to Yuganskneftegaz, the company has suffered damages," he said. "And so, we must now turn back this (debt) to the shareholders of Yukos, which mismanaged the company."
The strike was defensive in nature and came in response to three attacks on the US military in February