US, Germany ask for clarification on Khodorkovsky arrest

The governments of the United States and Germany have expressed serious concern over the growing crisis centering on the Russian oil company YUKOS. As reported by Britain's BBC, representatives of the Western countries are seeking assurances of the legality of the arrest of YUKOS chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Richard Boucher, an assistant US secretary of state, has called on Moscow to respond to fears that the Khodorkovsky arrest was politically motivated. A representative of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said clarity in the relations between business and the legal system was necessary if Russia is to continue its integration with the global economy. YUKOS' foreign advisers declared on Friday that they would put the case for the company and its management before Western governments.

Meanwhile, in a Saturday interview on BBC radio, Aleksandr Zhukov, chairman of the State Duma Budget Committee, said that, although he is concerned about the YUKOS situation, he sees no reason to expect that other Russian businesses will face prosecution. 'The president has already given as his answer that this will probably be the only incident,' Zhukov declared.

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