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Main Yukos Shareholder Filing Lawsuit over Auction

The main shareholder of Russia's giant oil firm Yukos is reported to have filed suit for compensation from the upcoming forced sale of the company's top production unit.

The managing director, Tim Osborne, of the holding company Menatep told Russia's Interfax news agency his group will take every possible step to defend its stake in the Yuganskneftegaz production unit.

This followed Friday's announcement by Russian authorities that the unit will be sold next month in a court-ordered auction to collect billions of dollars in back taxes from Yukos.

Officials have set an $8.6 billion starting price. An independent investment bank has valued the unit at $14 billion to $17 billion.

Yukos head Steven Theede has called the sale a government-organized theft to settle a political score. The Kremlin described the moves against Yukos and its subsidiaries as part of a crackdown on corporate crime.

Some information provided by AP and AFP.