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Cablegate: The End of Yukos

VZCZCXRO3003
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHMO #5350/01 3131427
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 091427Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5173
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 005350

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EUR/RUS, FOR EEB/ESC/IEC GALLOGLY AND WRIGHT,
EUR/CARC, SCA (GALLAGHER, SUMAR)
DOE FOR HARBERT, HEGBORG, EKIMOFF
DOC FOR 4231/IEP/EUR/JBROUGHER
NSC FOR MCKIBBEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/07/2017
TAGS: EPET ENRG ECON PREL RS
SUBJECT: THE END OF YUKOS

REF: MOSCOW 5973

Classified By: Econ MC Eric Schultz for Reasons 1.4 (b/d)

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) In a November 7th meeting, Yukos receiver Eduard
Rebgun told us the company will cease to exist as soon as the
court acknowledges receipt of his final report, which he
submitted November 2nd. Rebgun asserted that he had merely
performed a professional duty to carry out a Russian court
decision to liquidate a bankrupt company, and he was neither
qualified nor interested in making any moral or legal
judgments about the affair. He said the October 31st Dutch
court ruling (related to Yukos Finance, a Dutch subsidiary,
reftel) against Monte Valle, owned by Amcit Steve Lynch, is
"Lynch's problem," but that he would be willing to help with
pending appeals. Rebgun has filed his own appeal in the
case, because he believes "the decision is wrong."

----------------
THE END OF YUKOS
----------------

2. (SBU) Eduard Rebgun, the court-appointed Yukos receiver in
charge of liquidating the company recently announced that the
process is complete. He confirmed to us in a November 7th
meeting that he submitted his final report to responsible
Russian court on November 2nd. When the court acknowledges
receipt (he implied this is a formality and would occur very
soon), Yukos Oil Company will officially cease to exist.

3. (SBU) Rebgun said the bankruptcy auctions brought in 877
billion rubles (approx. $35 billion), out of which creditors
were paid 873 billion rubles. According to Rebgun, 76
billion rubles (approx. $3.1 billion) of creditor claims,
most of which was owed to the tax authorities for minor taxes
and fees, went unpaid. He said the 4 billion ruble (approx.
$160 million) difference between the revenues and payments of
the proceedings was for expenses and fees for lawyers,
consultants, accountants, etc. (N.B. Rebgun did not clarify
how much of that was fees paid to him.)

---------------------------------------
"JUST CARRYING OUT A VALID COURT ORDER"
---------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Rebgun cited his experience as a prominent
consultant to a variety of international companies and banks,
including experience with other bankruptcies, as the reason
he was appointed to manage this high-profile bankruptcy.
Separating his role from the decisions that brought Yukos
down, Rebgun emphasized that he was "just carrying out a
valid court order." "If someone has a problem with the court
decision on Yukos back-taxes or the court decision declaring
Yukos bankrupt, they need to take that up with the courts."
He added that he is not qualified to judge the court
decisions because he does not know the facts, but said he
trusts that Russian law was carried out properly.

----------------------------------
YUKOS FINANCE "IS LYNCH'S PROBLEM"
----------------------------------

5. (SBU) Rebgun said he believes the October 31st Dutch court
ruling that challenged his authority to auction off a
Netherlands-based Yukos asset, Yukos Finance, is wrong and he
is appealing. However, he said his motives were a matter of
principle, and because he is a "warrior," not because there
is any legal consequence for him. (Note: The ruling
effectively gave control of Yukos Finance to its former
directors. Monte Valle, a company owned by American Steven
Lynch and backed by Moscow- and Cyprus-based Renaissance
Capital, had bought Yukos Finance at auction for about $300
million. The Dutch court ruling casts doubt over the
ownership of this asset, which includes a 49% stake in
Slovakia's oil pipeline company, Transpetrol -- see reftel.
End note.)

6. (SBU) Rebgun said there is no provision to repay Monte
Valle should it not be able to gain control of Yukos Finance.
"They knew quite well what they were buying," he said,
referring to the risks involved. "This is Lynch's problem."
He added, however, that he would, "as a professional, help
Lynch with the case if he asks for it." He suggested Yukos
Finance could be tied up in the courts for years. Rebgun
also downplayed the significance of the case, noting that the
$300 million paid for the company was less than 1 percent of
the bankruptcy proceeds.

-------
COMMENT
-------

7. (C) Rebgun is probably correct in calling the Yukos saga
over, certainly with respect to its existence in Russia.
That doesn't preclude continuing challenges in international
courts. However, those challenges will ultimately deal with
minor issues, like Yukos Finance. Any attempt to revive the
company or reverse Russian court decisions would almost
certainly be doomed to failure.
BURNS

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