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    MOSCOW, January 19 (RIA NOVOSTI) - On Monday the Constitutional Court of Russia has started checking the constitutionality of the norm of the edition of the law On Joint-Stock Companies of 1995 which allowed compulsory buy-out of fractional shares from minority shareholders upon a decision of a shareholders' meeting on consolidation of shares.

    The inquiry by the federal court of the Oktyabrsky district of the city of Penza (the pre-Urals area) and over 30 complaints by minority shareholders, specifically of the Yuganskneftegaz, Samotlorneftegaz and Samaraneftegaz oil companies, gave cause to consider this case in court.

    The Cadet Establishment company of Liechtenstein which earlier owned shares of Samotlorneftegaz and of the Nizhnevartovsk oil- and gas-extracting enterprise but lost its shares as a result of their consolidation also lodged a complaint in the Constitutional Court. Upon a decision of these companies' Boards of Directors, the fractional shares were written off the company's account, and financial resources were remitted to it proceeding from the value determined by the appraiser.

    Former shareholders of different enterprises took the floor at the court's meeting. They noted that the shares had been taken away from them "illegally and in a forced manner."

    Former owner of 400 preference shares of the Samaraneftegaz enterprise which is an associated company of Yukos also addressed the meeting. Yukos has now stopped being the enterprise's shareholder.

    For his part, representative of Russia's government to the Constitutional Court Mikhail Borshchevsky told RIA Novosti that consolidation and bringing together of shares are "world practice."

    A decision on this issue will be taken and made public within a month.

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