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RUSSIA - July 14 - Yukos Fears New Round Of Arrests Among Managers.

Yukos, the flagship oil company, accuses the state prosecutors of intimidation and illegal pressure on the company and warns of a possibility of a new round of searches and arrests among its top managers. The warning by Yukos' lawyers comes after armed police burst into the company's offices on July 11 (see last week's Recorder) and searched them for 16 hours taking away computers, video-tapes and listening devices. The prosecutors' spokesman said they were investigating a number of cases related to Yukos, "including murder, tax evasion and theft". Prosecutors insisted their investigators acted in accordance with the law and said there were plans to investigate the legality of listening devices found in Yukos' possession during the search. Dmitry Gololobov, deputy head of the Yukos legal department, said: "This is an attempt to put illegal pressure on the company, which has nothing to do with the rule of law. These people [the prosecutors] will stop at nothing. In this situation we can't rule out new searches and arrests including at head office". Observers believe Yukos is a target in a Kremlin-orchestrated attack on its CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, one of the most politically ambitious business tycoons. Kiril Rogov, political analyst, said the raid was designed to demonstrate that "prosecutors in Russia are above law. There are no legal methods in the country that could protect one from the prosecutors as a political force". Yukos' lawyers said they could also not rule out the use of video material taken by prosecutors in a provocation aimed at discrediting the company. The latest exchange is seen as an escalation of the conflict between Yukos and the Kremlin, despite Pres. Putin's condemnation of repressive measures and "prisons cells" in combating economic crimes. Platon Lebedev, one of Yukos' main shareholders, remains in detention on charges of economic crimes.
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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EXRU
Date:Jul 19, 2003
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