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    YUKOS TO EXCHANGE SHARES FOR KHODORKOVSKY?

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    MOSCOW, February 16 (RIA Novosti) - The intention of Yukos shareholders to exchange their shares for their former CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been taken by the market as a populist statement.

    On Monday, the Bloomberg agency reported that Yukos shareholders Leonid Nevzlin and Vladimir Dubov were ready to pass over their shares in exchange for the release of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev.

    RIA Novosti quoted experts as saying that this is an odd statement.

    "This is a populist statement aimed to outline the Yukos management's position in this situation," said Sergei Zakharov, an analyst of the Zerich Capital Management. Besides, it is still unclear how such actions can be legally shaped, he added.

    Zakharov believes that hardly any reaction can be expected from the market to Nevzlin and Dubov's statement. He added that if Khodorkovsky could be set free on bail, the state would have done it long ago.

    Yuri Rosikov from EuroFinance agrees that this was a non-serious PR move. "This was a dodgy move, and the market did not react to it," he specified. "Such questions cannot be solved in this way," the expert added.

    Trader Igor Rubin was rather humorous about the whole situation. "I thought that Yukos shareholders were more serious people," he said to a RIA Novosti correspondent, adding that the people were rather pathetic.

    Rubin said the mechanism for this exchange was unclear. "How can material assets be exchanged for non-material ones?" he said.

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