Russia seeks extradition of oil tycoons Nevzlin, Dubov from Israel

Yukos shareholders Leonid Nevzlin and Vladimir Dubov are eligible for extradition, because the crimes of which they are accused were committed before they became citizens.

The Russian General Prosecutor's Office has filed an international extradition request for Leonid Nevzlin and Vladimir Dubov, senior shareholders in Russian oil company Yukos (RTS:YUKO). Nevzlin and Dubnov fled to Israel a few months ago. The General Prosecutor's Office issued two arrest warrants, one valid in Russia, and the second through Interpol.

Nevzlin and Dubov fled from Russia to Israel after Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky was arrested on charges of fraud and tax evasion. He resigned from the company a few days after his arrest.

Following Khodorkovsky's resignation, Nevzlin apparently became the controlling shareholder in Yukos in terms of voting rights, after Khodorkovsky reportedly transferred his 44% voting rights in the company to Nevzlin.

If the report is true, Nevzlin, an Israeli citizen, has voting control of the world's fourth largest oil company, in terms of market cap, and one of the largest in terms of oil reserves. Simon Kukes replaced Khodorovsky as Yukos CEO.

Nevzlin recently received Israeli citizenship, but this would not prevent his extradition if an international warrant has been issued for his arrest, since the crime for which he is accused was committed before he became a citizen. He is therefore eligible for extradition.

Dubov, who is not Jewish, is also eligible for extradition.

Nevertheless, in neither case is it clear whether Israel will respond to a request from Interpol, if one is submitted.

Published by Globes [online] - www.globes.co.il - on January 25, 2004

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