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Yukos Gets Additional $6 Billion Tax Bill

19 November 2004 -- Russian oil giant Yukos says that federal tax authorities have presented the company with nearly $6 billion in new tax claims.

Yukos spokesman Hugo Erikssen said today that the Tax Ministry claims the firm owes the money in back taxes for 2003. That brings to $24 billion the total back tax claims against the company, or nearly five times its current market capitalization.

The Russian government today set an auction to sell off Yukos's main production unit, Yuganskneftegas. The Federal Property Fund said that Yuganskneftegas, which accounts for 60 percent of Yukos production, will be put up for auction on 19 December, with the starting price of 8.65 billion.

Yukos chief Steven Theede denounced the action as "government-organized theft to settle a political score."