A Russian judge has ordered bankruptcy officials to temporarily supervise the Yukos oil conglomerate.
The judge ordered the move Tuesday and set June 27 as the date for considering further measures.
Several Western banks had asked the court to declare Yukos bankrupt, saying it defaulted on more than $480 million in debt.
The banks have already reached a deal with the Russian oil company Rosneft to transfer control of the Yukos debt to the state-owned firm.
Russia's government has taken control of several key Yukos assets as payment for billions of dollars owed in back taxes.
Officials say Yukos still owes $20 billion in taxes, and they are seeking to take over remaining assets as payment.
The conglomerate's former head, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, is serving an eight-year prison term in Siberia following conviction on tax evasion and fraud charges. His supporters say the Kremlin is punishing Khodorkovsky for his support of the political opposition, a charge Russian officials deny.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.