Moody's lowers Yukos rating

Moody's Investors Service, the international rating agency, now lists YUKOS, the Russian oil company, as Ba1 and has placed the issuer's Ba2 rating in a category of expecting a decline, a statement from the agency reads.

The agency cited increasing pressure on YUKOS from Russian authorities and the growing effects on the company of allegations of tax evasion.

Moody's stressed YUKOS' stability as a production company. However, the powerful impact of recent tax investigations and resulting allegations that the company failed to pay USD 3.3 billion in taxes for 2000 as well as questions relating to the legality of some YUKOS licenses, actions taken against the company's main shareholders and, finally, the halting of the planned merger with Sibneft have compelled the agency to raise its estimate of the risks involved with YUKOS and lower the company's rating, the statement said.

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