Death of an Oil Company
The week's news at a glance.
Yukos, once Russias largest private company, dissolved in bankruptcy this week. Creditors said the company was worth $18 billion but owed half a billion more than that; Yukos lawyers protested that the firms assets actually totaled $37 billion, but their testimony was disregarded. Years of questionable legal proceedings against the oil company left it with billions of dollars of tax bills and fines and sent the firms chief, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, to a labor camp on fraud charges. Most analysts believe the Kremlin ordered the harassment of Yukos in order to restore state control of the oil industry and to punish Khodorkovsky for his outspoken opposition to President Vladimir Putin.