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Economy Minister holds talks with Yukos finance managers in the USA

During his working visit to the United States on March 7, Slovak Economy Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek met with Bruce Misamore and David Godfrey, the American managers of Yukos Finance B.V., the Dutch subsidiary of bankrupt Russian crude oil giant YUKOS, the SITA newswire wrote.

During his working visit to the United States on March 7, Slovak Economy Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek met with Bruce Misamore and David Godfrey, the American managers of Yukos Finance B.V., the Dutch subsidiary of bankrupt Russian crude oil giant YUKOS, the SITA newswire wrote.

"Representatives of both sides discussed the current legal state of affairs in ukos Finance. Minister Jahnátek declared the interest of the Slovak side to buy back 49 percent in the company Transpetrol. Both sides agreed on subsequent steps and procedures," Branislav Zvara, spokesman for the Slovak Economy Ministry, informed the media on March 7.

However, due to an agreement with the representatives of Yukos Finance, he declined to be more specific.

At the end of February, Jahnátek told the media that the Russian government had issued preliminary approval of Slovakia buying back the 49-percent stake in crude-oil pipeline operator Transpetrol. Currently, the Slovak Economy Ministry considers the final price for the minority stake very important. However, the main problem for the transaction is the number of ongoing lawsuits, in which Yukos Finance B.V. is fighting for control over the 49-percent stake in Transpetrol with its bankrupt parent company, Yukos.

Yukos was considering the sale of its stake in Transpetrol due to problems that originated after Russian tax offices went to collect $27.5 billion in unpaid taxes. In December 2004, Yukos sold its main production division Yuganskneftegaz in a mandatory auction to Rosneft. A Moscow arbitration court complied with creditors' requests for a bankruptcy hearing and declared Yukos bankrupt on August 1, 2006.

Transpetrol transports Russian crude oil to Slovakia and the Czech Republic and provides storage of crude oil products for its customers and the state administration of material reserves. In 2002, Yukos obtained a 49-percent package of Transpetrol shares for $74 million and Slovakia kept a 51-percent majority stake. SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports

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