MOSNEWS is running a story on Robert Amsterdam’s statement on Italian participation in the Yukos auctions:
Khodorkovsky’s Lawyer Lashes Out at Eni, Enel for Taking Part in Yukos Auction MosNews Robert Amsterdam, attorney for the founder of bankrupt oil firm Yukos Mikhail Khodorkovsky, gave an interview to the Italian daily Corriere della Sera and strongly criticized the Italian energy firms Eni and Enel for their intention to take part in the controversial auctions for Yukos’ assets. “The Italian government has surrendered to Putin,” Amsterdam said in the interview. “One day there will be a different government in the Kremlin that will prosecute those responsible for these crimes, and when that call comes, I will be looking not only at Moscow, but also at Rome.” Corriere della Sera quoted Amsterdam describing Eni as “the first victim of the gas OPEC,” arguing that following Gazprom’s signing of a agreement with Algeria’s state-operated gas exporter Sonatrach last August (Italy receives 69 percent of its gas from Russia and Algeria), Eni was strong-armed by Russia into helping make the Yukos affair appear legal. In the article Amsterdam compares the Italian participation in these auctions to the “embarrassing scandal” of BP’s decision to bid in a Yukos auction, saying that “it is a form of reputation laundering that some Western companies make themselves available for.” As MosNews has reported, BP’s Russian venture TNK-BP took part in the first of three auctions for the assets of bankrupt Yukos alongside state oil company Rosneft. The auction was for Rosneft’s 9.44 percent stake held by Yukos as well as some other oil assets. TNK-BP and Rosneft were the only participants of the auction, which was won by the state-controlled firm. The second auction for 20 percent stake in Gazprom Neft (former Sibneft), in which Eni and Enel plan to take part on Wednesday, April4, will have at least six bidders, Russian authorities said.