- Title: RUSSIA: ARMED AND MASKED POLICE RAID OFFICES OF YUKOS OIL COMPANY
- Date: 11th July 2003
- Summary: (W6) MOSCOW, RUSSIA (JULY 11, 2003) (REUTERS) 1. SLV CAR ARRIVING AT YUKOS OIL OFFICE 00.10 2. SMV MASKED POLICE OUTSIDE OIL OFFICE 0.17 3. SLV VAN DRIVING ALONG STREET AND THROUGH GATES OF YUKOS OIL /GATES CLOSING 0.34 4. CLOSE OF FEET OF POLICE PATROLLING GATE OF YUKOS OIL (FILMED UNDERNEATH GATE) 0.38 5. CLOSE OF SECURITY CAMERA ON EXTERIOR OF YUKOS OIL 0.42 6. CLOSE OF MASKED POLICE INSIDE CAR AT YUKOS OIL 0.47 7. WIDE OF MEDIA AT ENTRANCE TO YUKOS OFFICE (2 SHOTS) 1.03 (EU) MOSCOW, RUSSIA (JULY 11, 2003) (REUTERS) 8. SLV POLICE OFFICERS STANDING OUTSIDE YUKOS ARCHIVE WITH AUTOMATIC WEAPONS 1.06 9. SMV . (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) YUKOS LAWYER, ALBERT MKRTYCHEV, SAYING: "I think this is illegal because our lawyer should have been allowed inside immediately instead of having to talk over the situation. At the very least, they should have showed one of our lawyers this document. It doesn't matter who they represent, we have three [document storage] areas and maybe everything is in another area. But our lawyers weren't given anything." 1.28 10. WIDE OF EXTERIOR WALL OF KREMLIN AND CLOCK TOWER 1.34 11. WIDE OF CLOCK TOWER 1.38 12. VAROOUS, USSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN MEETING WITH LEADERS OF PARLIAMENT (4 SHOTS) 2.02 (EU) VARIOUS LOCATIONS, RUSSIA (FILE) (REUTERS) 13. WIDE OF YUKOS OIL DRILLS 2.06 14. VARIOUS, YUKOS OIL DRILLS / OIL-DRILLING EQUIPMENT ( 4 SHOTS) 2.19 15. SLV OIL TANKER WITH OIL FLARE BURNING IN THE BACKGROUND 2.22 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 26th July 2003 13:00
- Location: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- Country: Russia
- Reuters ID: LVA93TY0TJEK5OKX6EQ9PJO7FLIT
- Story Text: Armed police, some wearing masks, swooped on a Moscow
office of oil giant YUKOS on Friday and sifted through its
files in the latest move against the company run by Russia's
A company lawyer said around 20 officers were looking
through documents at the office of Russian oil major YUKOS on
Friday (July 11), next to the oil major's headquarters in the
The investigation into YUKOS started after one of its key
shareholders, Platon Lebedev, was arrested and charged with
theft of state property in a case involving the sale of
Apatit, a state-owned fertiliser plant in 1994. YUKOS Chief
Executive Officer Mikhail Khodorkovsky was questioned by the
prosecutor's office last week.
Brokers said on Friday that the YUKOS investigation,
combined with a sudden halt to a rally in Russian bonds,
punctured the buoyant mood that prevailed on the Russian stock
market for much of the year.
YUKOS shares in Moscow closed down 6.47 percent at $11.70,
while its American Depository Receipts in London had fallen
6.66 percent to $46.10 by 1435 GMT.
Company lawyers were left to dispute the legality of the
action as the government investigators sifted through their
YUKOS attorney Albert Mkrtychev said, "I think this is
illegal because our lawyer should have been allowed inside
immediately instead of having to talk over the situation. At
the very least, they should have showed one of our lawyers
this document. It doesn't matter who they represent."
Mkrtychev said investigators had told him they sought
documents on Apatit.
Many analysts consider the pressure to be politically
motivated. Not only is Khodorkovsky the nation's richest man,
but he has also made public statements of support for
opposition parties over the past month.
A senior company legal official said the search could
inflict significant damage on the oil giant's interests.
Khodorkovsky, Russia's wealthiest man, has backed liberal
opposition parties running against Putin's allies ahead of
parliamentary and presidential elections.
Top industrialists, meanwhile, put their case to President
Vladimir Putin in a letter read out at the Kremlin to
parliamentarians, regional bosses and party leaders, calling
on the president to leave big business alone ahead of the
Investigations into the financial affairs of Russian
companies are common. Raids by armed bailiffs caused outrage
among Russia's business elite in the early part of Putin's
term, prompting the authorities to say they would not do it
Khodorkovsky was questioned last week over the Lebedev
case. He told NTV television on Thursday the legal action
would have no effect on YUKOS's merger with smaller Sibneft, a
move which will create Russia's largest oil company.
Putin, almost sure to run for a second term next year, has
made no public comment on the case.
A government minister gave assurances on Thursday that
there was no question of re-examining the privatisations of
the 1990s when many of the magnates, or "oligarchs", made
The minister's comments were a clear attempt to dispel
suggestions that a rift had appeared in an informal pact made
in 2000 under which Putin agreed not to investigate selloffs
to business magnates as long as they stayed out of politics.
While the oligarchs do not wield as much power as they
once did, they nevertheless remain a force to be reckoned
with. One prominent tycoon, 36-year-old Roman Abramovich,
bought Britain's Chelsea Football Club for $100 million
earlier this month.
Investigations into the financial affairs of Russian
companies are common, but sending in armed, masked police
officers has stirred outrage among Russia's business elite.
Prominent business leaders have stated that continued actions
will weaken Russia's investment climate. The pressure on YUKOS
has already sent its stocks sliding.
But Putin is choosing for now not to make any public
At a meeting with the nation's parliament leaders he spoke
of overcoming small disagreements for the common good.
Crackdowns on the Russian business elite are not new in
the Putin era. Other top business leaders have been detained
or chosen to flee the country producing little political
fallout for the Kremlin. In fact, the raid on YUKOS may prove
to be politically popular in the upcoming months with
parliament elections set for December and a presidential vote
The Russian public is generally suspicious about large
business deals in the post-Soviet era, especially the
privatisation schemes that landed many of the top financial
leaders enormous wealth.
YUKOS was the darling of the Russian stock market until
the events of the past few days, lauded for its ambitious
production and sound business plans.
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