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Russia: Prosecutor's Office Confirms Confiscation Of Yukos Shares

Moscow, 30 October 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The Russian Prosecutor-General's Office confirmed today that it had seized a controlling share in the oil company Yukos. A spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office, Natalya Vishnyakova, said the share seizure was conducted on the basis of a court decision.

Russian authorities on 25 October arrested Yukos chief executive Mikhail Khodorkovskii and charged him on seven counts of tax evasion and massive fraud.

The Russian news agency ITAR-TASS reported today that 53 percent of the shares in Yukos were seized. Other reports say the state seized 44 percent of the shares. The news agency said the shares belonging to two foreign companies -- Hully Enterprises of Cyprus and Yukos International Limited on the Isle of Man -- were frozen.

Yukos shares fell by 14 percent at the end of the trading day in Russia.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin met investors in the Kremlin to reassure them that the rights of investors would be respected.