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Russian state oil firm buys Yukos production arm as Putin defends deal again

[JURIST] Russian state oil company Rosneft announced Thursday that it had bought 100% of Baikal Finance Group, the mysterious entity that last weekend purchased the production arm of Russian oil giant Yukos for over $9B despite temporary restraining order from a US bankruptcy court. The Rosneft purchase effectively expropriates the core of Yukos, from which the Russian government is seeking to recover over $27B in back taxes while it prosecutes former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky for tax fraud. BizWorld has more. Russian President Vladimir Putin once again defended the roundabout deal in a year-end Kremilin press conference:

Now regarding the acquisition by Rosneft of the well-known asset of the company – I do not remember its exact name – is it Baikal Investment Company? Essentially, Rosneft, a 100% state owned company, has bought the well-known asset Yuganskneftegaz. That is the story. In my view, everything was done according to the best market rules. As I have said, I think it was at a press conference in Germany, a state-owned company or, rather companies with 100% state capital, just as any other market players, have the right to do so and, as it emerged, exercised it.
Read the full transcript of Putin's press conference here. Yukos continues to insist that will take legal action against any and all particpants in the asset sale contrary to the US court-ordered stay.

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