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Former Yukos Chief Transfers Stake in Holding Company

The former chief of Russia's giant Yukos oil company says he has transferred his majority stake in the Group Menatep holding company to a fellow shareholder.

The lawyer for Mikhail Khodorkovsky says the transaction was made after December's government-ordered auction of the main Yukos production unit Yuganskneftegaz.

Mr. Khodorkovsky transferred the 60 percent stake in Group Menatep to Leonid Nevzlin, who is wanted in Russia on charges of a role in several murders. He is said to be living in exile in Israel.

Yukos has been the focus of an extensive government investigation. Russian officials say the company owes billions of dollars in back taxes.

Mr. Khodorkovsky is in jail on trial for tax evasion and fraud. Critics say the actions against him and his former company are retaliation for his support for the political opposition. Kremlin officials deny this

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.