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Khristenko Confirms Lawsuit

Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko has confirmed that he was served with a lawsuit against the Russian government and state-owned energy giants by U.S.-based shareholders of Yukos while on an official visit to the United States.

Speaking on Rossia television late Tuesday, a week after his trip to Washington, Khristenko described the incident as "comic."

"During a reception attended by some 300 representatives of Russian and U.S. business, a passerby stuck a folder with something in it under my arm. ... In the morning, it turned out that I had been summoned to court," he said.

Representatives of the plaintiffs have said that Khristenko was served the summons on Oct. 24, immediately after meeting U.S. President George W. Bush, and on the same day the claim was filed with a U.S. district court in Washington.

At the time of the visit Khristenko said through his aide that he knew nothing about the claim.

The lawsuit states that the 12 plaintiffs -- including former U.S. National Security Adviser Richard Allen -- collectively lost $3 million due to the drop in market value of the 115,000 American Depositary Receipts in Yukos they had purchased over a three-year period.

Khristenko, who is being sued as a minister and as a Gazprom board member, has until Nov. 14 to respond to the allegations. Other defendants include Gazprom chairman and presidential chief of staff Dmitry Medvedev, Rosneft chairman and deputy presidential administration head Igor Sechin, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and Rosneft president Sergei Bogdanchikov.

Source: The Moscow Times

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