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    MOSCOW COURT IMPOUNDS YUKOS TOPMEN'S ACCOUNTS

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    MOSCOW, MARCH 12, 2004, (RIA NOVOSTI) - The Basmanny District Court, in Moscow, today issued a warrant to impound the bank accounts of twenty defendants on the Yukos case, thereby honoring a request by the Russian Prosecutor-General.

    On Thursday, law-enforcement agencies of Switzerland blocked the defendants' accounts in five local banks, also at the Russian Prosecutor General's request. Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Platon Lebedev, Leonid Nevzlin, and other former top officials of the Yukos oil giant hold a total of 6.2 billion Swiss francs (about $5 billion) at five Switzerland-based banks.

    "It's not about assets, stocks, or securities, but about monetary deposits made by individuals complicit, this way or another, in large-scale embezzlement of public funds," the Prosecutor General's Office points out in a press release.

    The Prosecutor General's Office is not trying to revisit the results of the 1990s privatization campaign, but is just investigating the activity of Yukos management suspected of defrauding billions of dollars from the public purse and laundering that money in Western Europe, the press release explains. It assures that measures to block and impound the bank accounts are being taken in strict compliance with Russian and Swiss procedural regulations.

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