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Azerbaijan Oil Products Retailer Accuses Government Of Illegal Move

Caspian Sea oil derricks visible from the capital Baku (AFP) 9 January 2006 -- Azerbaijan's largest oil products manufacturer and retailer today accused the government of illegally confiscating part of its foreign assets.

In a statement carried by Turan news agency, Azpetrol blames authorities for implementing a December court ruling that ordered the seizure of the company's Dutch subsidiaries, saying they had not been properly registered.

Azpetrol claims the move is illegal because under Azerbaijani law it still has the right to appeal the court decision.

Azpetrol is owned by Rafiq Aliyev, the brother of former Economic Development Minister Farhad Aliyev. Both Rafiq and Farhad Aliyev were arrested in October on charges of plotting with other officials and exiled opposition leader Rasul Quliyev against the government. They both deny the charges.