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#3 - JRL 7259
July 21, 2003
Duma Deputy Speaker: YUKOS situation is farce

Irina Khakamada, Deputy Speaker of the State Duma, called the situation around YUKOS oil company "the re-distribution of property". "This is the re-distribution of property by one clan, using law enforcement agencies," she told reporters.

According to Ms. Khakamada, what is happening with YUKOS, is in no way related to the plans of YUKOS head Mikhail Khodorkovsky to sponsor the SPS (Union of Right Forces) and Yabloko parties in the parliamentary elections scheduled for December. She also noted that such things often happened to small- and medium-sized companies in the province, but they were not covered by the media because of their relatively little significance.

"What is happening to YUKOS, is not of a completely legal nature, and the fact that the Prosecutor General's Office was involved in the re-distribution of property, just humiliates Russia," Ms. Khakamada stressed. In her opinion, this is a "farce that has nothing to do with the fight against corruption" in the country.

At the same time, she believes that all these events will not affect the financing of the SPS party in the elections. "The SPS party is financed by 15-20 companies, and it is not crucial for us whether or not YUKOS finances us," Ms. Khakamada noted. At the same time, she added that the Yabloko party could face problems, because it was financed solely by YUKOS.

She did not say whether SPS and YUKOS would cooperate in the future. Ms. Khakamada noted that YUKOS was a strong company, and it would maintain its position.

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