Who is Steven Lynch? No one seems to know who the new American buyer of Yukos assets is, but this move clearly fits the regular pattern of state expropriation. It’s a familiar story: another totally unknown shady front company gets control of the Yukos assets, holding them until they are transferred to state control. Not even the Russians seem care anymore if people believe in this shell game (“Our official commentary is that Rosneft didn’t participate in this auction,” they said). The thieving continues, the injustice continues, but at least we can take heart in the fact that the presumption of regularity is beginning to crack – the majority of people now openly agree that this is nothing more than a sham. Moscow Times: Yukos Auction Has U.S. Winner
Analysts speculated at the time that Monte Valle could be fronting for state-run gas monopoly Gazprom, which did not participate openly in any of the auctions amid legal concerns. Lynch declined to name the buyers of the power assets. Nikolai Lashkevich, a spokesman for Yukos’ bankruptcy receiver, declined to comment on who stood behind Promneftstroi’s bid. “It’s a case of ‘the less you know the better you sleep,'” he said.
Kommersant: American Buys YUKOS Debt-Laden Foreign Assets
Monte-Valle was one of the few firms to down Rosneft in YUKOS sales. In April, the company bought 3.2 percent in TGK-4 as well as control in Tambov and Belgorod energy companies for 3.5 billion rubles. Mr. Lynch said then that he was considering selling some of the assets to his “long-time business partner” David Herne. Mr. Herne is a well-known American businessman who is investing in Russia through Halcyon Advisers. He also chairs the reform committee at the Russian national power grid UES of Russia. Partnership with Mr. Herne is the only thing known about Steven Lynch. David Herne would not comment his partner’s purchase. A source close to the American says that Mr. Herne had no connection with the deal.
Bloomberg: Yukos assets sold, but to whom?
Former Yukos managers said that the auction should not have been held because control of Yukos Finance was still contested in Dutch courts. “In our view nothing was for sale and nothing was bought,” said Claire Davidson, a spokeswoman for the former managers. “Promneftestroy now has the burden of demonstrating that it bought the asset fair and square from someone who was properly authorized to sell it. We are confident that neither is true.”
Yukos Finance BV controls a 49 percent stake in Slovakia’s pipeline monopoly and over US$1.5 billion (euro1.1 billion) in cash raised from the sale of Yukos’ large stake in Lithuanian refiner Mazeikiu Nafta to Poland’s PKN Orlen in 2006. A protracted international legal battle appeared in the cards: Yukos Finance BV is the subject of separate bankruptcy proceedings in the Netherlands, and no permission for the company’s sale in Russia has been given by the Amsterdam court overseeing the case. Claire Davidson, a spokeswoman for Yukos’ shareholders and former managers, who control Yukos Finance BV, called the auction “an illegal farce, a piece of theater.”