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Moscow court grants Yuganskneftegaz plea to lower Yukos claim

MOSCOW, August 3 (RIA Novosti) - The Moscow Arbitration Court granted on Thursday a request from state-controlled oil producer Yuganskneftegaz to reduce its claims against battered oil company Yukos from $5.2 bln to $770 mln.

Yukos, which was declared bankrupt earlier this week, retains a stake in its former core production unit Yuganskneftegaz, sold last December to state-controlled oil giant Rosneft, and now accounting for the majority of Rosneft's crude production.

Rosneft, a major Yukos creditor, is widely seen as a likely purchaser of the company's assets in its upcoming liquidation.

The court's decision follows a ruling in May to substantially cut the tax claims against Yuganskeftegaz for the 1999-2003 period.

Yukos's main creditors are the Federal Taxation Service ($13.1 billion), Rosneft ($482 million), Yuganskneftegaz (about $4 billion), Tomskneft-VNK ($457.6 million), and Samaraneftegaz ($69 million).

The arbitration court has adjourned until August 10 to consider the claims against Yukos.

The liquidation will end years of legal proceedings against Yukos, whose founder Mikhail Khodorkovky is serving an eight-year prison sentence in Siberia, which have saddled the company with billions of U.S. dollars in back taxes.

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