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    RUSSIA'S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND TRADE MINISTER FAVOURS GRANTING OF GUARANTEES TO BUSINESSES IF THEY REVEAL COMPANIES' STRUCTURE

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    MOSCOW, February 4, 2004. (RIA Novosti) -- German Gref, head of the Economic Development and Trade Ministry (MERT), spoke for the granting of guarantees to businesses "so that they could open the structure of companies to the maximum extent possible." When replying to the questions of participants in the fifth annual investment conference held by the US Chamber of Commerce in Moscow, the minister pointed out that many Russian businesses, including the YUKOS oil company, used a non-transparent structure of business. "They don't have the simplest structure of property," Gref said. "This is a classical scheme with the use of offshore structures." In German Gref's words, YUKOS used a complicated structure to make it impossible to understand who owns what: one could find there triple affiliated possession, a beneficiary separated from the owner, and what not.

    Gref believes that this scheme has been used; it is still being used, by business in order to hedge risks. (ozh/yon)

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