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Auditors Say Russian Tycoon's Region Is Bankrupt

21 May 2004 -- Russian auditors say a region governed by billionaire Roman Abramovich is bankrupt and that there is evidence of financial violations in its accounts.

Sergei Ryabukhin, an auditor at Russia's Audit Chamber, said today the Chukotka region in Russia's northeast had run up debts of 9.3 billion rubles ($320 million) as of the beginning of the year.

He said that equals 2 1/2 times the region's budget revenue.

Ryabukhin also said there is evidence of financial and tax violations in the region.

He said Chukotka had given tax breaks of more than $470 million dollars, mainly to companies related to Sibneft, the oil company Abramovich controls.