The seller of air

 "Yukos" company shares worth not more than the cost the oil in the soil of Russia

It is known that any action creates an equal counteraction and vice versa. This law relates to everything in the Universe including people and companies such as "Yukos". Its shareholders and supporters abroad would like the company to continue operating and  they could earn more money. Therefore they are irritated with the law enforcement officials who dared to undermine their well-being and profit made in Yukos. However, shares do not always have a financial equivalent. Foreigners often forget that Russia has always had crooks who could sell  air.

The Financial Times reports that "Yukos" shareholders  consider the possibility to start legal proceedings in Russia and abroad to claim the arrest of 42 per cent of the company shares by law enforcement authorities to be unlawful. Besides, a group of lawyers intends to address the European Court the issue of the violations of legal procedures in the case on “Yukos”.

"PRAVDA.Ru" reported that according to the Treaty of Guardianship  "Yukos" owner Michael Khodorkovski’s shares are inherited by the “third person” if  their owner is unable to perform its possession (arrest is one of such cases). No one knows who this “third person” is. Some experts say it is Khodorkovsky’s business partner Leonid Nevzlin who recently applied for Israel citizenship. Other analysts consider this person to be the head of British Rotshild Jacob Rotshild. However, the court’s verdict to arrest many of “Yukos” shares  prevents this “third person” to conduct manipulations with the shares. This was the reason why the shareholders intend to start legal proceedings.

The shareholders are going to apply to a court in Great Britain because they realize they can hardly win the case in Russian court. Besides, the arrested shares belong to Menatep Group which is registered in Hibraltar. Because of this the court in Moscow which arrested the property of British citizens will have to deal with the legal system of Great Britain.
In 2003 Russia had more arguments with British legal system than for the last century. London preferred to solve the legal problem of tycoon Boris Berezovsky and his business partner Yuli Dubov’s extradition to Russia by political means – to grant them political asylum. Therefore Russian authorities do not expect that British court will share their opinion on Yukos case.  

British and Americans are the parties most concerned because of arrest of “Yukos”’s CEOs Khodorkovsky and Lebedev and the company’s shares. The US government officials tried to express no emotions on the recent events in Russia, but the media started to write about the end of the weak Russian democracy and the return of Stalinism and even fascism.  After this the official Washington increased its criticism.

On November,1 the spokesman for the Department of State Richard Baucher said in an interview to “Reuters” agency that Russian authorities should prove that the “Yukos” case is not politically motivated. According to Baucher, they should guarantee that the case is examined objectively and in strict accordance with the law which is enforced fairly. Meanwhile, several days before Baucher said that he could not comment the legal aspects of “Yukos” case and offers to wait the case’s development. But his last statement demonstrated that the most important thing for the US officials is not Khodorkovsky himself but “Yukos”’s shares and brought up again the rumors

the Russian mass media wroteabout many times - that Khodorkovsky  sold his shares to Americans.  Meanwhile, in Russia “Yukos” considered to be under Russian law jurisdiction.
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said the USA also had scandals on its big corporations in recent years which were accompanied by arrests of their managers.

However, the Department of State expressed no concern and did not criticize the legal procedures, Ivanov said. He believes that questioning another country’s legal system means undermining its sovereignty and the policy of double standards.

Moreover, the pressure on official level can initiate the equivalent counteraction from Russia.

 Russian Ministry of Natural Resources demonstrated this at Talakan oil and gas deposit scandal where all high ranking officials participated, including Prime Minister Michael Kasyanov and Minister Igor Yusufov (“” covered this scandal before).

“Yukos” fought aggressively to obtain the right to have Talakan deposit. Ministry of Natural Resources cancelled the auction several times. Nevertheless, “Yukos” obtained the temporary license by controlling 50 per cent of the shares of Sakhaneftegas” company which in turn controls “Lenaneftegas” company.

However, after the expiration of the license the Ministry of Natural Resources did not let “Sakhaneftegas” to continue operating the deposit to decided to postpone conducting the works there. But it did not happen.
On November 3 it became known that the Ministry gave the temporary license for the operation Talakan deposit to “Yukos”’s competitor – “Surgutneftegas” company.

 The Ministry reported “Yukos” received the lisence as “conscientious” deposit operator (probably contrary to “unconscientious” “Yukos”).

Despite the authority of Michael Khodorkovsky who learned to earn money Not only with oil but in financial market operations, it is worth remembering that the main “Yukos”s asset is Russian oil. (The fact that Russian oil companies do not consider the deposits they own as their assets surprises many analysts). However, issuing licenses for the deposits is under control of the Ministry of Natural Resources controls.

“Yukos”’s shareholders can win the case in a court of Britain or some other country. However, all the company licenses can be terminated and its shares in this case will not cost more than the paper they are made of. It will be the fault of Michael Khodorkovskii who could mislead foreigners and sell what he does not really possess.

Moreover, American and British investors can be damaged more if they express the same position. Currently investors from Germany and other European countries are in a hurry to use the possibilities President Putin promised them at the recent meeting in Kremlin.

For instance, the second largest bank in European Union is purchasing 40 per cent of the shares of Russian United Financial Group. And this can be just a beginning...

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Author`s name Olga Savka