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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Volgotanker Auction Stopped

The Federal Property Fund has canceled an auction of assets of the country's biggest river shipper, Volgotanker, that had been aimed at recovering back taxes, it said Wednesday.

The auction was canceled on the orders of Rostov's regional court marshal, the property fund said in a statement. The fund has twice postponed the auction originally scheduled for May.

The fund's spokesman declined to give the reason for the cancellation or say whether the fund still planned to sell off Volgotanker's property. Rostov's regional marshal was not available for comment.

The sale of Volgotanker's five oil tankers was to start the breakup of Europe's largest river carrier of oil products, which used to be a part of the empire of bankrupt oil firm Yukos, also sold off to recover tax debts of $26 billion.

Volgotanker, which is now owned by its management, had to stop operations last year due to a back tax claim of around 3.9 billion rubles ($150 million) for 2001 to 2005.

The firm's fleet under arrest includes more than 350 vessels, with about 200 oil carriers with maximum tanker deadweight of 10,000 tons.

The firm has in the past handled large volumes of nonpipeline oil and products exports, plying routes between refineries in central Russia and northern export ports such as St. Petersburg or Kavkaz in the south.

The tax dispute has significantly reduced fuel oil export shipments via St. Petersburg.