Weekly News #3

Have a very merry Christmas!  But, before you do, check out the news from Russia…

Yukos

  • Sunday’s auction of Yukos subsidiary Yuganskneftegaz resulted in what is probably one of the biggest shocks to come out of Russia this year.  Baikal Finance Group, a previously unknown company, bought Yugansk for a mere 260.75 billion roubles (thats around $9.37 billion to you and me).  The figure doesn’t even come close to matching Yukos’ unpaid tax bills, which totalled almost $27 billion.
  • Fevered speculation ensued about who was behind the mysterious Baikal Finance Group (from now on – Baikal), and their motives.
  • So who does know who is behind Baikal?  Putin, that’s who.  He told German reporters that "the shareholders are individuals, they worked many years in the energy sphere."
  • Gazprom has sold the subsidiary it used during the auction process.  This is  because it was in breach of a US court order not to take part in the auction and Gazprom fears US sanctions.
  • Update:  Late on Wednesday Baikal Finance Group was purchased by Rosneft, the state-owned oil company, in a move which effectively nationalises Yuganskneftegaz.  It appears that the Yukos farce, this phase at least, is drawing to a close. 

Foreign Affairs

CIS

Domestic news

Not so happy Anniversaries

The next weekly news roundup will come out on Wednesday 5th January. 

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