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Moscow Court Claims Yukos Accounts

2 September 2004 -- Yukos, one of Russia's largest oil companies, says it may be forced to halt oil production because a Moscow court has granted a prosecutor's request to seize $2.6 billion in the company's bank accounts.

A company statement today said the decision regarding a legal dispute over tax payments to the government "paralyzes the productive capacity of Yukos." Yukos said the decision also prevents the company from settling accounts and paying salaries to employees, and will bring regional operations to a halt.

A deadline for Yukos to pay $3.4 billion in back taxes for the 2000 financial year passed earlier this week.

Uncertainty over the future of Yukos -- which accounts for 2 percent of global oil production -- has contributed to a recent rise in world oil prices.