Thursday, September 02, 2004

Given a temporary reprieve in late August, the dead man has now continued walking.
A Moscow court has acceded to a request from the Public Prosecutor to lay claim to 76 billion roubles ($2.6 billion) on bank accounts belonging to oil group Yukos, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

The statement said: �The arrest paralyses the productive capacity of Yukos,� adding that it prevented the company from settling accounts and from paying salaries to its employees.

A Yukos spokesman said the latest court ruling effectively froze all of the company�s bank accounts, including those of affiliate companies, whereas an earlier freeze order only applied to Yukos� parent company accounts.

�The arrest led to a complete blocking of the accounts of subsidiary companies and deprived them of the possibility to carry out any transactions, including payments of salaries, taxpayments and payments related to current operations,� said the statement.

It added that the court decision would bring regional operations grinding to a halt and could lead to a social unrest among people who depended on the company for their livelihoods.
The Yukos bank accounts remained open all last month despite threats from the Russian government to seize assets. This ruling, however, seems to throw those accounts into the deep freeze. The first sign to watch for is a halt of Yukos rail shipments to China, and then pipeline shipments. Those would come before a shutdown of production which will send the global oil markets into another tizzy.

We aren't done flirting with $50/barrel just yet.


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