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Yukos Names Soviet-Era Central Banker As New Chairman --> Gerashchenko as central bank head in 1994 24 June 2004 -- A former central banker from Soviet times was named to be the new chairman of the board of Russia's oil giant Yukos today.

Viktor Gerashchenko succeeds Russian born American Semen Kukes, who headed Yukos after the jailing of the company's founder, Mikhail Khodorkovskii. Khodorkovskii and the chairman of the financial arm of Yukos, Platon Lebedev, are currently facing trial for alleged tax evasion and fraud, among other charges.

Gerashchenko said he hopes to make Yukos a world leader.

"I thought it would be interesting for me to work at this already successful company despite the current difficulties in the interpretation of the existing laws, which have holes in them [that is, are imperfect], and I will apply all of my strength and knowledge to making it a leading company not only in our country but in the world's oil community," Gerashchenko said.

Gerashchenko was the last central banker in the Soviet Union and the first in post-Soviet Russia.

Gerashchenko assumes leadership of a company that faces a potential $3.4 billion bill for unpaid taxes that the company claims it avoided legitimately.