On this day, Yukos was gambling on invented letter

On this day, Yukos was gambling on invented letter

An invisible letter about Khodorkovsky’s* generous offer to hand over his shares to the Russian government. The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on July 8, 2004.

On this day 18 years ago, on July 8, 2004, from the depths of “the most transparent” oil company to pages of the press was poured a brilliant proposal on behalf of the con artist Khodorkovsky*.

“Mikhail Khodorkovsky has proposed to Yukos shareholders to give to the Russian government all shares in exchange for amortization of debt to the Finance Ministry of Russia that would a to avoid bankruptcy”. On the eve, the British newspaper “The Financial Times” reported about it pointing out that a letter with such a proposal had been sent by Yukos to the Russian prime-minister Mikhail Fradkov and to finance Minister Alexey Kudrin.

It was maintained that Mikhail Khodorkovsky was ready to transfer to Yukos managers all 44% of the shares at his disposal and at the disposal of his partners. In response to “the transfer of the shares to the state” certain authors of “the letter to the government” counted on unlocking of assets which would enable to begin settling tax arrears and other debts thus giving the company a chance for survival.


The case smelled if not of bankruptcy, then of problems. July 8, 2004, in accordance with the proceedings in execution on the materials about tax arrears of the company for 2000 – the tax arrears for this period amounted to $3.4 billion – was the due day for settling the debts. Yukos, as should be expected, having shoved all its money in foreign accounts, was not in a hurry to pay off the debts. The Service of Court Bailiffs of Moscow, with the approval of the Office of the Prosecutor of Moscow, filed a criminal case under Article 315 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation – non-execution of a Court’s Decision about recollection from the OJSC “Oil Company Yukos” the debt to the budget to the amount exceeding 99 billion rubles.

The non-execution of proceedings of the execution was connected with the fact that Yukos, instead of settling debts, unexpectedly started “works” with registries of enterprises, trying, actually, to hide information from bailiffs about the assets of the debtor.

And against such a backdrop emerges a “generous” theme of “the letter approved by Khodorkovsky” about the “rescue of the company”. Participants of the market believed in that, having decided that “Khodorkovsky, at last, “turned his brains on” and reacted positively. On such news, Yukos shares went up on the market. Yet, it was found very soon that Khodorkovsky didn’t even think about turning on his “brains”.


The company Yukos didn’t send any letter, “approved by Khodorkovsky”, to anybody, and that was confirmed in the company itself. Addressees in the Russian government didn’t hear anything about the letter, and naturally, didn’t receive anything. Yet, Anton Drel, a lawyer of the con artist Khodorkovsky, having made a mysterious face, told the public that Khodorkovsky asked him, by word of mouth, to convey to Yukos board of directors the following: “in order to avoid the bankruptcy of the company, he can use the stock of shares belonging to major shareholders of the company”.

One of the joyful shareholders told the newspaper “Kommersant” that he was not aware of any details of “Khodorkovsky’s proposal”, but if the state would release from prison the co-owners of Yukos, then we “would agree with such an exchange”. In Yukos, they always thought that they could bargain with the state as on a market place. However, the state had a different attitude.


Moreover, while discussing in the mid-simmer of 2004 the question of “Khodorkovsky’s readiness to give the shares, it would have been enough to recall the statement of Khodorkovsky in court in January 2004: “I don’t manage any organizations, I don’t own shares, I haven’t committed any crimes”.

Khodorkovsky lied to the court at that moment – until December 2004, when the auction sales of 77% of shares of the company “Yuganskneftegaz” took place, the manager of the trust on which “hanged” shares of the Group Menatep, had been Khodorkovsky himself, who, in court, tried to present himself as a ragged fellow.

“In addition, the manipulation with the theme “Khodorkovsky is ready to give the stack of shares belonging to him for the sake of saving the company” was repeated with participation of the same Anton Drel.

Swindlers had a big self-esteem, but their fantasy is not that rich. Lie, repeated twice, doesn’t become truth”, notes the website Prigovor.ru.

(See also the previous article “On this day, «Menatep» was making a ‘smokescreen” in the “Apatit” case”. Splitting up of a stock of shares of the industrial complex “Apatit”. Use of promissory notes’ scheme for “re-hanging” of shares to offshores. The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on July 7, 2003).

*On May 20, 2022, the Russian Ministry of Justice included M.B. Khodorkovsky in the list of physical persons executing functions of a foreign agent.

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