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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Deutsche Last Bank Left in Yugansk Suit

HOUSTON -- Yukos has dropped all claims against several banks stemming from its bankruptcy case in a U.S. court in Texas, satisfied they did not participate in the government-ordered auction of the company's key production unit nearly two months ago.

"The management team of Yukos Oil Company has always been focused on finding out the truth and therefore sees no need to continue legal action against the banks who have denied any participation in the illegal sale of Yukos Oil Company assets," the company said in a press release.

The banks the company dropped from the case filed in conjunction with Yukos' Chapter 11 bankruptcy are: ABN AMRO, BNP Paribas, Calyon, J.P. Morgan Chase and Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein.

Deutsche Bank and Gazpromneft, a former unit of state-controlled gas giant Gazprom that had intended to bid on the Yukos unit, remain as defendants in the action.

Next week Deutsche Bank and Yukos will face off in a two-day hearing on Deutsche Bank's request that the bankruptcy be thrown out for lack of U.S. jurisdiction over a Russian company subject to Russian law.

Mark Wege, an attorney with Bracewell & Patterson who represents the banks other than Calyon, and Calyon's attorney, Charles Beckham of Haynes and Boone, declined to comment Monday. But Michael Goldberg of Baker Botts, who represents Gazpromneft, said Yukos was "spinning everything to the press and to the court."

Goldberg spoke from London, where he and other attorneys are participating in depositions in preparation for the hearing on Deutsche Bank's request to dismiss the bankruptcy.

The five banks denied having provided financing for the forced Dec. 19 sale of Yuganskneftegaz, which produced 60 percent of Yukos' oil.

"We are satisfied that their responses mean they did not participate in the auction in any manner," Yukos spokesman Mike Lake said.

Yukos filed for bankruptcy Dec. 14 in an unsuccessful effort to block the auction, which was ordered by the Russian government to help pay a disputed back-tax levy of approximately $27.5 billion.

Deutsche Bank led an effort to finance a bid for Yuganskneftegaz by Gazpromneft, but froze the money when U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Letitia Clark in Houston issued an injunction Dec. 16 to block the auction.

Russia said the U.S. judge had no jurisdiction on Russian soil and forged ahead with the sale to a company later acquired by state-owned Rosneft, which in turn is to be folded into Gazprom.