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Russian tycoon Khodorkovsky got oil giant Yukos with a bribe & ROBBED western shareholders – report

Russian tycoon Khodorkovsky got oil giant Yukos with a bribe & ROBBED western shareholders – report
A TV report, citing an ongoing probe, claims Russian oligarch-turned-opposition figure Mikhail Khodorkovsky took control over the oil giant Yukos by bribing its managers and then siphoned off billions of dollars from shareholders.

Having spent a decade in prison in Russia after being found guilty of tax evasion and embezzlement, Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man, may now face more charges. A new probe into his activities, launched by the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office, has revealed that the businessman laid his hands on the now-defunct oil giant as a result of a shady deal, the report by the Russia’s NTV Channel says.

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It reveals that, in the mid-1990s, Khodorkovsky managed to win the right for his companies to buy almost 80 percent of Yukos’s shares by bribing the company’s management. The businessman allegedly promised the then-Yukos director Sergey Muravlenko and three more top managers to pay them an equivalent of 15 percent of the oil giant’s shares – or some $2 billion – Salavat Karimov, an adviser to Russia’s Prosecutor General, told NTV.

“He indeed transferred hundreds of millions [of dollars] to the offshore accounts opened in the names of these four Yukos top managers,” Karimov said.

While he did not name the exact sum of the bribe money, NTV reported that it amounted to $250 million. The top managers then lobbied for Yukos shares to be mostly handed over to the “effective investor” Khodorkovsky, which his company eventually purchased for a giveaway price of just $9 million. It also obtained a right to buy additional 45 percent of shares as a result of a “special clause.”

Shareholders fleeced

While Khodorkovsky has already faced charges of tax evasion and embezzlement, a major revelation seems to be that he fooled Yukos’s minor shareholders big-time, with a whopping $51 billion siphoned off to offshore accounts, according to the probe.

The businessman employed “dozens” of criminal schemes to rob his business partners, which reportedly included JP Morgan, Barclays, Raiffeisen Bank, UBS, Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse. In particular, he bought oil from Yukos affiliates at dumping prices, presenting it as “borehole liquid,” and then sold it on at full price.

The money went to offshore accounts in the British territories – the Cayman Islands, Gibraltar and the Guernsey islands. They were then laundered through a specially created company Quadrum, which purchased real estate in the UK and the US. According to Karimov, some $10 billion was also transferred to the Netherlands.

Khodorkovsky, who is currently based in London and enjoys the limelight of accorded to a top Vladimir Putin critic in the west, has dismissed the information published by NTV, saying he “could not care less” about what he called a “sham investigation.”

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The former oil tycoon was sentenced to nine years in prison in 2005 following a lengthy legal battle, which was increased to 11 years after the second trial ended in late 2010. He was pardoned by President Putin in 2013 and left Russia for Germany, Switzerland and then the UK.

In 2015, Russian prosecutors accused Khodorkovsky of ordering the murder of the mayor of Siberian city Nefteyugansk, Vladimir Petukhov, and an attempted assassination of businessman Evgeny Rybin. He was then placed on an international wanted list.

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