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Court extends Yukos bankruptcy process for three months -1

(Recasts, adds additional information in paras 3-7)

MOSCOW, August 7 (RIA Novosti) - A Moscow arbitration court extended Tuesday the bankruptcy process of former oil giant Yukos [RTS: YUKO] for three months, on the request of the liquidator.

The court satisfied a petition by Yukos bankruptcy administrator Eduard Rebgun to extend by three to six months the process, in which the company's remaining assets are to be auctioned off to meet creditors' claims.

Yukos, once Russia's largest oil company, was declared bankrupt on August 1, 2006, after three years of litigation with tax authorities over arrears. Its founder, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, is serving an eight-year prison sentence in Siberia for fraud and tax evasion.

The bankruptcy administrator's request to the court said: "Due to the large volume of work and the difficulty of solving liquidation tasks, keeping to the deadline [set out in bankruptcy law] is not possible."

Through a series of liquidation auctions, Yukos has repaid more than 400 billion rubles ($16 billion) to creditors. The company's key production and refining assets have been bought up by Rosneft at auctions, making the state-controlled company one of the country's leading crude producers.

The bankruptcy receiver's statement said that three to six months would be needed to sell the remaining assets, repay creditors, archive and submit the debtor's documents to the state, and complete other duties.

Rebgun also said Yukos was short of more than $2 billion required to meet all creditors' claims.

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