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Yukos debt virtually repaid - bailiff

MOSCOW, June 28 (RIA Novosti) - Bankrupt Russian oil company Yukos has virtually repaid its debts to creditors, including the federal tax authorities, Russia's chief bailiff said Thursday.

"Yukos's debt has been practically paid off after the sale of its assets," Nikolai Vinnichenko told a news conference.

Yukos, once Russia's largest oil company, was declared bankrupt on August 1, 2006, after three years of litigation with tax authorities over tax arrears. Its founder, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, is serving an eight-year prison sentence in Siberia for fraud and tax evasion.

Eduard Rebgun, the Yukos bankruptcy administrator, said on Wednesday that the company had started repaying its principal debt worth $400 billion rubles (about $15.5 billion) to third-tier creditors, including payments to the federal budget.

The Yukos register of creditors' claims includes 137 claims from 63 creditors totaling 709.512 billion rubles (about $27 billion).