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Dutch Court Orders New Auction of Yukos Assets

A court in the Netherlands has ordered a new auction of the assets of Yukos Finance, a Dutch subsidiary of the now defunct giant Russian oil firm Yukos.

The same court declared last year that an earlier sale of the assets was illegal because a Russian bankruptcy declaration against Yukos was invalid under Dutch law.

In that earlier sale, arranged by the company's liquidator in Russia, Yukos Finance was to be sold to the state-run Russian oil firm Rosneft for $302 million. The estimated value of Yukos Finance assets is about $2 billion.

Russian authorities in 2003 crushed Yukos - once one of the country's largest private companies - with a series of criminal probes linked to the firm's alleged failure to pay delinquent taxes.

Former Yukos chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner, Platon Lebedev, are currently serving eight-year terms in Siberia, following conviction on fraud and tax evasion charges. Khodorkovsky's supporters say Russian authorities framed him for supporting opposition politicians. Kremlin officials deny the accusations.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.