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Russia Auctions Off Remaining Yukos Assets

A little-known Russian company has bought the last remaining assets of what had been the giant oil firm Yukos, putting an end to the energy empire of imprisoned tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

A group identified as Prana Friday bought former Yukos headquarters building in Moscow and other remaining properties for more than four times the starting price at a state-organized auction. The price paid was more than $3.8 billion.

Auction officials said the company outbid the state-controlled Rosneft oil firm, which had purchased most of the Yukos assets at previous sales.

More than 700 bids were entered at the auction in the former Yukos Moscow offices in a process that lasted more than two hours.

Authorities drove Yukos to bankruptcy with claims of back-taxes. They also convicted its former owner of fraud and tax evasion and sentenced him to eight years in prison.

Khodorkovsky's supporters have called the charges against him reprisals for his support of opposition politicians, a charge Kremlin authorities deny.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.