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Russia Mulls Yukos Tax Offer

Former Yukos CEO Khodorkovskii's trial resumed today (file photo) 12 July 2004 -- The fraud and tax-evasion trial of Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovskii resumed today in a Moscow court as the company in which Khodorkovskii is the main shareholder, Yukos, made a new offer to stop the state from seizing its assets.

Khodorkovskii appeared in court with codefendant Platon Lebedev in a continuation of their trial on charges of fraud and tax evasion.

Khodorkovskii's lawyer, Anton Drel, said an offer from Khodorkovskii to turn over 44 percent of the shares in Yukos to settle the tax claim is still on the table.

Judges in the trial rejected a plea from Lebedev to be released on grounds of ill health.

The trial was adjourned and is scheduled to resume on 13 July.

Meanwhile, Yukos' new chief executive, Stephen Theede, today reportedly offered the government $7.5 billion over a three-year period to cover tax arrears.

Russian tax authorities say Yukos owes nearly $7 billion in back taxes for 2000 and 2001.

Officials are said to be considering the offer.