Now you see it, now you don’t. The three-card trick over Russia’s renationalisation of oil giant Yukos continues to leave observers baffled and has put new owners Rosneft massively in debt to the banks.
State-owned Rosneft says it is negotiating with creditors including French bank Societe Generale to repay 400 million euros, part of a 770 million euro loan made to Yukos prior to the sale of its subsidiary Yuganskneftegas last December. News that the loan has been called in comes amid a flurry of denials that China had chipped in 4.6 billion euros to help with the 7.1 billion euro sell-off. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Kong Quan told reporters: “I can tell you clearly that China has not provided any loans to a Russian oil company to purchase any stake in Yuganskneftegaz. About providing money in other ways I have no other information” . Russian officials issued similar denials after finance minister Alexei Kudrinand a top energy official said on Wednesday that cash-strapped Rosneft had partly financed the deal with funds from China. The retraction restores the obscurity that has shrouded the affair since Yugasnkneftegaz was sold off by auction just before Christmas.