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Kremlin-Owned Oil Firm Takes Over Yukos Unit

Russia's state-owned oil firm Rosneft has installed one of its senior executives as head of Yuganskneftegas, a key unit of dismantled oil empire Yukos.

Rosneft said Friday it has registered its ownership of Yuganskneftegas and named Vladimir Bulba as company chief.

Last Sunday, the mysterious Baikal Group picked up the Yukos subsidiary at a government auction for about half of what analysts said it was worth.

In turn, Rosneft bought Baikal last week.

Next month, Rosneft and another state-owned energy firm, Gazprom, are expected to merge.

The Russian government ordered the sale of Yukos assets to recover what it says are more than $25 billion in back taxes by the company. Critics of the Kremlin have called the move payback for political activities by Yukos founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who is now in prison. The Kremlin has denied the charge.

Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP.