MOSCOW Ñ The United Arab Emirates has staged a
quiet campaign to buy Russia's leading energy firm.
Russian industry sources and media said UAE Defense Minister Mohammed
Bin Rashid Al Maktoum was said to have offered up to $12 billion to purchase
Russia's Lukas. They said Al Maktoum, who is also Dubai's crown prince, was
prepared to pay off the estimated $3.4 billion in taxes owed by Yukos and
purchase a majority stake in the company, which has interests in Iraq and
Al Maktoum was believed to be the silent partner of Konstantin
Kagalovsky, a former associate of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Yukos's largest
shareholder. But Kagalovsky would not confirm a report by the London-based
Sunday Times on Aug. 8 that Al Maktoum was the silent partner.
"I cannot name the members of the consortium," Kagalovsky told the
Moscow-based Kommersant newspaper. "But I can confirm that investors from
Persian Gulf countries plan to offer more than half of the required funds.
The exact amount is not known, given that the tax payment demanded from
Yukos has not been determined."
The UAE has the largest amount of foreign assets by an Arab League
state and increased holdings by $10 billion over the last year, Middle East Newsline reported, citing a