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Western Participation in Yukos Auctions Must Be Investigated

[The attached press release from Robert Amsterdam was distributed via wire today. It can also be viewed here and here] Western Participation in Yukos Auctions Must Be Investigated, Says Khodorkovsky Attorney — LONDON, March 23 – Blasting the “immoral opportunism” of Western banks’ and energy firms’ participation in the upcoming controversial auctions of Yukos Oil Company assets in Russia, attorney for political prisoner Mikhail Khodorkovsky has called for a Congressional investigation. Attorney Robert Amsterdam called for protests to senior management and an investigation following news reports that Citibank, ABN AMRO, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley, among others, are providing loans of $22 billion to Rosneft to enable it to purchase the assets of Yukos, Khodorkovsky’s former company, in a highly contentious auction scheduled for late March and early April. In addition, today the Times of London reported that British Petroleum (BP) intends to participate in the auction through a subsidiary, despite sources quoted by the newspaper that BP’s name will likely only be used to give an appearance of competition to what many believe is a rigged auction to deliver these assets into the hands of the state. “Two things are guaranteed: the auctions are fixed, and the value will be unconscionably low,” said Amsterdam. “Western participation to legitimize this farce, as manipulated by the Kremlin, only shines a light on the desperation of these firms to curry favor with the president’s gatekeepers. These groups are not backing the auction because they want the assets, which carry significant legal liability; they are participating solely to acquire access to a corrupt business model in Russia.” The unlawful nature of the attack on Khodorkovsky and the forced seizure of Yukos assets has been widely recognized by numerous international bodies, including the U.S. Department of State. Amsterdam recently authored a seminal White Paper detailing the numerous violations of due process committed by the Russian state in the attack on Yukos, which argues that Russia’s rise as a hostile energy power is largely connected to the disputed nationalization of these assets. “I call upon all U.S. shareholders of Yukos and concerned observers to request that Congressman Barney Frank and Congressman Tom Lantos investigate on the use of Western financial institutions and energy firms as instruments of Kremlin foreign and domestic policy,” he said. 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 www.robertamsterdam.com.