Mystery surrounds the massive price paid for the 22 story former Moscow headquarters building of bankrupt oil company Yukos. Sold off at auction, it is part of a lot bought for two point eight billion euros by Parana, a previously unheard of Russian company. In a two and a half hour long auction, it outbid the state-controlled oil firm Rosneft.
Property experts said the Yukos building and contents are worth, at most, 220 million euros.
There is speculation the buyers knew about hidden value – perhaps cash or oil inventories – in Yukos’ trading firm, which was an asset also included in the lot.
Nikolai Lashkevich, a spokesman for Yukos’ bankruptcy receiver, was surprised at how things played out. He said: “I don’t think anyone would have expected the price to go up so quickly and such a big battle to break out.” Commenting on the huge price paid he added: “We just hope that the winner of the auction will be able to meet the obligations it has taken on.”
At the same time Yukos’ hundreds of petrol station were bought by another Russian firm which outbid Shell and TNK-BP.
This is the final act in the demise of what was Russian’s biggest oil company. The assets were seized to cover enormous tax claims.
The auction sales complete the destruction of the former energy empire of jailed tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Once Russia’s richest man, Khodorkovsky is serving an eight year prison term after being convicted of fraud and tax evasion.