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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 25, 2004

25 May 2004
Turkish Court Halts Sale Of Tupras To Tatneft-Related Joint Venture
A municipal court in the Turkish capital Ankara has ruled that the Turkish government should halt a deal to sell 66 percent of Turkish petrochemical holding Tupras to a joint venture between Tatarstan's Tatneft and Turkish Zorlu holding, Reuters and Interfax reported on 24 May. The lawsuit was filed by the Petrol-Is trade union, which comprises Tupras employees. The court said the deal was the result of numerous violations and its completion would harm the interests of the country. Completion of the deal was postponed until it is considered in court. In early February, the Turkish government approved the sale following a tender in which Tatneft subsidiary Efremov Kautchuk GmbH and Zorlu offered $1.3 billion for the nearly two-thirds stake. Tatneft and Zorlu planned to make the payment on 28 May and sign a contract with the Turkish government on 31 May. Tatneft's minority shareholders have already appealed to the Turkish prime minister to block the deal, claiming violations took place during the tender (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 10 and 13 February and 1 March 2004).

Tatar Legislative Leader's Tenure In Russian Delegation To Council Of Europe To Continue
State Council Chairman Farid Mukhametshin left for Strasbourg on 24 May to participate in the 11th plenary session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe, the State Council press service reported the same day. Mukhametshin, who has represented Russia on the Council of Europe since 2000 as the deputy chairman of the Committee on Culture and Education, was included in the Russian delegation to the council for the next two years through a Russian presidential decree on 22 April. The session is scheduled to elect a congress head and leaders of both chambers and nominate members of permanent committees, as well as discuss results of work on the European Charter on Regional Self-Government, the state of local and regional democracy in Russia and Southeastern Europe, and female participation in local and regional bodies.

Chally Prosecutor Highlights Corruption Problem
Chally prosecutor Ildus Nefiqov said on 24 May that the continued activities of Chally organized criminal groups "29th Complex" and "Tahirjanovskie" are possible only with the help of corruption, reported. The comment came at a meeting of city officials, heads of law-enforcement bodies, and enterprises devoted to fighting corruption. Nefiqov said the so-called 29th Complex has managed to take over several companies in Tatarstan, including a meat-processing plant. The property sector is corrupt and costing Chally money through corruption, he added. Speaking at the same meeting, Chally Interior Directorate deputy head Damir Garipov said most crimes involving corruption are registered in higher educational and medical institutions.

Investigation Concluded Into Alleged Chally Crime Group
Chally prosecutors have completed an investigation into the 29th Complex group, RosBalt reported on 24 May. Alleged members of the group are accused of 22 cases of suspected murder, banditry, kidnapping, assault, robbery, blackmail, swindle, and arson. Thirty-three suspected members of the group are being held in custody, while nine others are wanted by federal interior bodies. Seventy-five weapons have been seized from alleged members of the group.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkir Cabinet Approves Business Plan For Agidel Nuclear Project
Bashkortostan's cabinet approved on 21 May the draft concept for investment in the Agidel nuclear-power plant, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 24 May. The project was developed by Russia's Nuclear Energy Ministry, stipulating that the first power unit is to be launched in 2012.

Russia's official plan for developing nuclear-energy plants in the first half of the 21st century states that the Bashkir nuclear-power plant is to be completed by 2020.

By July the working group of Bashkortostan's government is to submit suggestions for the project and present a forecast of future electricity rates.

Bashinformsvyaz Shareholders To Meet
Bashinformsvyaz, Bashkortostan's major communication services provider, will elect its new board of directors at its annual shareholders meeting on 28 May, Rosbalt reported today. The company will also consider its economic performance in 2003 and appoint an independent audit commission. In 2002, the communications giant earned approximately $10 million in profits. Its current board includes eight representatives of Bashkortostan's government and three representatives of the federal cabinet. Russia's Ministry of Property Relations reportedly owns 29.3 percent of the company's shares, while the similar Bashkir Ministry is in possession of 18.5 percent. The two other major shareholders, UralSib Bank and Depository and Clearing Company, are reported to own 29.3 percent and 28.6 percent share packages, respectively.

Prosecutors Urged To Pay More Attention To Bankruptcy Cases
Following reports of alleged violations in Bashkortostan's Arbitration Court (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 24 May 2004), Chief Prosecutor Mikhail Zelepukin said that he would "dismiss" his subordinates for improperly monitoring bankruptcy cases considered by the Bashkir Arbitration Court.

Zelepukin had previously stated that the court tended to enforce bankruptcy procedures against financially-challenged companies because, in his opinion, the bankruptcy procedures were harmful to the state budget. He emphasized that according to the Russian laws it is possible to announce any company bankrupt if it has debts exceeding $3,300.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi