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Yukos Tax Deadline Looms

Former CEO Khodorkovskii is reportedly seeking a deal to save Yukos from bankruptcy. 7 July 2004 -- The Russian oil firm Yukos is facing a deadline to settle a $3.4 billion tax bill from 2000 by the end of today or risk having its assets seized by the Russian government.

The "Financial Times" newspaper has reported that Yukos' main shareholder, imprisoned former chief executive Mikhail Khodorkovskii, has offered to surrender some or all of his 44 percent stake in Yukos to prevent the oil group from going bankrupt.

No confirmation of the report was available.

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the Bush administration is concerned about the case because of the appearance of a lack of due process and questions about Russia's respect for private property rights.

Russian authorities say the actions against Yukos are part of a drive against economic crime and corruption.