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Fifth auction for bankrupt Yukos assets to be held April 18

MOSCOW, April 17 (RIA Novosti) - The fifth auction for assets of the now bankrupt oil company Yukos will be held April 18, Russia's federal property fund said Tuesday.

Yukos, once Russia's largest oil company, was declared bankrupt August 1, 2006, after three years of litigation with tax authorities over the company's tax arrears

The initial lot price is 992.31 million rubles (about $38.5 million), with a bid increment of 9.92 million rubles (about $384,612). Prospective bidders must deposit 198.46 million rubles (about $7.7 million).

The first auction held March 27 to sell Yukos's 9.44% stake in state-run oil producer Rosneft was won by Rosneft's subsidiary RN-Razvitiye, which offered 197.84 billion rubles for the lot (about $7.6 billion), compared with the lot's initial price of slightly over 195.5 billion rubles (about $7.5 billion).

The second auction held April 4 to sell a 20% stake in Gazprom Neft was won by a subsidiary of Italy's energy company Eni, which offered 151.53 billion rubles ($5.83 billion) compared with the lot's initial price of 144.77 billion rubles (about $5.57 billion).

However, the Russian energy giant Gazprom will acquire the second lot of Yukos assets under a call-option agreement signed with leading Italian energy companies Eni and Enel.

The third auction, including Yukos's research and development assets, was called off due to a lack of bids.

The fourth auction held April 17 for the bankrupt company's energy assets in the Tambov and Belgorod Regions in Central Russia was won by the company Monte-Valle, which offered 3.563 billion rubles (about $138 million) for the lot compared with the lot's initial price of 2.64 billion rubles (about $102.2 million).

Yukos, whose founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky is serving an eight-year prison term in Siberia after being convicted of fraud in May 2005, faces a total of more than 700 billion rubles (about $26.9 billion) in claims from creditors.

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