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Moscow court cuts tax body's claims to Yukos by $1.6 bln-1

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(Corrects sources, adds paragraphs 2-5)

MOSCOW, August 11 (RIA Novosti) - A Moscow appeals court has reduced the Federal Tax Service's claims to Yukos from 353.8 billion rubles ($13.2 bln) to 311.8 billion rubles ($11.6 bln), a RIA Novosti correspondent reported from the courtroom Friday.

The Arbitration Appeal Court partially upheld a motion from Yukos against a 108-bln-ruble ($4 bln) claim the FTS was demanding in back taxes for 2004.

Yukos, once Russia's biggest oil company, was declared bankrupt on August 1 after three-year litigation with tax authorities. The group now faces a total of $16.6 bln in claims from creditors, including Rosneft-owned former production unit Yuganskneftegaz ($4.07 bln), the Federal Tax Service ($11.6 bln), Rosneft ($482 mln) and more than 20 other companies.

The company, whose founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky is serving an eight-year prison sentence after being convicted for fraud in May 2005, is also facing a probe opened August 8 into alleged fraud related to lower transfer pricing schemes in oil deals in 2001-2003.

The Prosecutor General's Office said Yukos had secured a loan worth over $4.5 bln from Yukos Capital SARL, a Luxembourg-based subsidiary and major creditor, through affiliated legal entities. It said ex-Yukos officials had masterminded a scheme to sell crude oil through trading companies Fargoil and Ratibor under their control, acting both as fictitious owners and buyers.

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