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OECD Criticizes Russia Over Yukos Prosecution

7 July 2004 -- The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) today accused Russia's government of "selective law enforcement" against the Yukos oil firm.

In a new report on Russia's economy, the OECD says the legal charges brought against Yukos could be made against hundreds of other Russian companies and millions of citizens.

Yukos's former chairman, Mikhail Khodorkovskii, is in jail awaiting trial on tax evasion and fraud charges. The company faces a back-tax bill of billions of dollars and risks having its assets seized by the government.

Britain's "Financial Times" newspaper reported today that Khodorkovskii has offered to surrender some or all of his 44 percent stake in Yukos in exchange for scrapping the company's tax debts.

That reported offer has neither been confirmed by the Russian government nor by Yukos. The Russian government today said that it has not received such a proposal from Khodorkovskii.

(RFE/RL, wire reports)