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Fines Against Yukos Stand - 2004-10-11

A Russian court has ruled that embattled oil firm Yukos must pay nearly all the fines and penalties connected to its 2001 tax bill.

The Interfax news agency reports the court reduced the fines slightly - to $1.34 billion. Lawyers for Yukos said they would appeal. The court also refused a Yukos request to have a new judge appointed to the case.

The penalties are the latest blow to the company, already struggling to pay $3.4 billion in taxes and fines for the year 2000, as well as $2.7 billion in taxes for 2001. Analysts expect the government's claims could reach $10 billion.

Government critics charge the actions against Yukos are in retaliation for support the firm's former chief, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, gave to the political opposition. The Kremlin says it is fighting corporate wrong-doing.