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Russia to Proceed With Yukos Sale

Russia says it will proceed with the sale of a major portion of the giant Yukos oil firm, despite a U.S. judge's order to halt the auction.

A spokesman for the agency conducting the auction, the Federal Property Fund, says Sunday's planned sale is in full accordance with Russian law, and U.S. courts have no jurisdiction.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday the case must be settled under Russian law.

The Russian government has ordered the auction of the firm's main production unit, Yuganskneftegaz, to cover more than $27 billion in Yukos' back taxes.

Yukos, which has financial holdings in the United States, filed for bankruptcy in the southern U.S.state of Texas this week. A judge ordered a temporary halt to the auction.

The oil firm's woes are widely seen as government action against former Yukos chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who supported the political opposition and is currently jailed on charges of fraud and tax evasion.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AP, AFP.