The bankrupt Russian oil company Yukos, whose former owner Mikhail Khordorkovsky languishes in a Siberian prison, is to be sold off next month in the first in a series of “bargain basement” auctions.
Russian bankruptcy officials have confirmed that the first batch of Yukos assets will be sold at the end of March, with further sales later on. Although the auction is open to all bidders, Russia’s state-dominated companies Rosneft and Gazprom are widely expected to swallow up the shares.
The sale follows the humiliating bankruptcy of Yukos, once Russia’s biggest oil company, last summer – and the politically motivated campaign against Khordorkovsky, now serving eight years in prison on charges of fraud and tax evasion. Officials estimated Yukos’s remaining assets at $22bn.