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#3 - JRL 7249
July 15, 2003
Yukos head decides to stay longer in US

MOSCOW - Mikhail Khodorkovsky, head of Russias largest oil company YUKOS, will return to Russia from the United States on July 16, and not on July 15, as was planned, NTV channel reports quoting sources in the company.

According to the sources, the delay is not related to the scandal around YUKOS. In the United States, Mr. Khodorkovsky was taking part in an economic conference in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Alexander Shadrin, head of YUKOS press service, said on Monday that Mr. Khodorkovsky would return to Moscow on July 15.

Meanwhile, the scandal around YUKOS is taking a new turn. Prosecutors of the Prosecutor Generals Office found pistols and spying equipment, including tapping and surveillance devices, during searches of YUKOS, said Natalia Vishnyakova, a spokeswoman for the Prosecutor Generals Office.

According to Dmitry Gololobov, Deputy Chairman of YUKOS legal department, YUKOS lawyers would prepare an appeal against the actions of the Prosecutor Generals Office during the searches of the companys archives. YUKOS lawyers consider the actions of the law enforcement agencies during the search unlawful. According to Mr. Gololobov, provisions of the Criminal Procedural Code of the Russian Federation were violated in the course of the search.

Platon Lebedev, chairman of the board of the financial group MFO Menatep and a major shareholder in YUKOS, was detained on July 2. The Basmanny District Court of Moscow issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Lebedev on July 3. He is accused of stealing a 20-percent stake in the company Apatit in 1994. The stake, worth about $283.142m, was owned by the government. Leonid Nevzlin, another major shareholder in YUKOS, and the companys head Mikhail Khodorkovsky were summoned to the Prosecutor Generals Office for questioning.

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