Statement: “Oil Company Takeover by RUSAL Owner Reveals Illegitimacy of Yukos Auctions”

Below is a press statement from Robert Amsterdam distributed via wire today in regards to the allegedly forced sale of Russneft. The statement can also be read on MarketWatch, AOL Money News, and Yahoo!. …. Oil Company Takeover by RUSAL Owner Reveals Illegitimacy of Yukos Auctions, says Khodorkovsky Lawyer LONDON, July 31 – In an interview published today in Canada’s Globe and Mail, attorney for political prisoner Mikhail Khodorkovsky denounced the state’s attack on private oil firm Russneft as a further example of illegal expropriation by the Russian authorities. “The Kremlin’s upcoming forced sale of Russneft to the owner of RUSAL sends a very strong message: the government believes it stole Yukos fair and square, and no ‘unauthorized’ private firm will be allowed to own its ill-gotten property,” said attorney Robert Amsterdam. “If the seizure and subsequent auctions of Yukos assets were even remotely legitimate, then why would the state attack the CEO of Russneft using much of the same fraudulent tactics as used against Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Royal Dutch Shell, and BP? This proves once again that the whole affair is a sham.” According to media reports, on July 27, Basic Element, the holding company of aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska of RUSAL, applied for regulatory approval to buy Russneft. On July 30, the CEO of Russneft, Mikhail Gutseriyev, resigned from his position and published a critical letter claiming that the Russian government had illegally forced him out of the company. In the Globe and Mail interview, Mr. Amsterdam alleges that Mr. Deripaska is acting on orders from the Kremlin, and will eventually sell these oil assets back to state-owned firm Rosneft. “What we are seeing here is the first ever case in Russian history of someone violating the unwritten rules of a rigged auction,” said Mr. Amsterdam. Mr. Amsterdam also urged investors and observers in financial markets to pay close attention to the new precedent being set by this conduct: “With this event it is clear that the protection of private property no longer exists in Russia,” said Mr. Amsterdam. “The constitutional coup is now complete, and the only property ‘rights’ are conditional upon the political approval of the state. This is a fact that can no longer be ignored as Russian firms rush to the London Stock Exchange to enthusiastically raise funds in initial public offers.” Robert Amsterdam is the founding partner of Amsterdam & Peroff, and represents the former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky. This statement represents his personal views. Mr. Amsterdam maintains a blog at ###