French, Swiss banks get out of Yukos loan

10th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

GENEVA, June 10 (AFP) - The Swiss bank UBS and Societe Generale of France are no longer involved in a USD 1.6 billion loan made last year to bankruptcy-threatened Russian oil giant Yukos, the banks said Thursday.

GENEVA, June 10 (AFP) - The Swiss bank UBS and Societe Generale of France are no longer involved in a USD 1.6 billion loan made last year to bankruptcy-threatened Russian oil giant Yukos, the banks said Thursday.

"This loan had been covered from the start and there is no longer any exposure," Societe Generale spokesman Jerome Fourre told AFP, backing up a report in the newspaper Tribune de Geneve.

Yukos announced the loan on October 6, three weeks before the arrest of its chairman, Mikhail Khordorkovski, whose trial on tax evasion charges is scheduled to open June 16.

"The deal has been closed for about a month and there is no risk anywhere," a spokesman for UBS said.

"The matter is settled and we are out of it. It doesn't concern us any more," he said, adding that "there was no risk at any monment for UBS."

But both UBS and Societe Generale declined to say how the matter was resolved.

"It seems the loan has been repaid," the Tribune said.

But the paper questioned the reasons behind UBS support for Yukos, noting that "the Swiss bank for several years has been a major financial partner of Menatep, the main Yukos shareholder."

Swiss authorities in late March said "several billion" Swiss francs that had been invested in Swiss banks by Yukos and other Menatep units had been frozen at the request of the Russian government.

The accounts were held by UBS and Societe Generale along with French banks Credit Agricole Indosuez and BNP Paribas and Dresdner Bank of Germany.Societe Generale had also organized a loan for Yukos of USD 1 billionamong seven Western banks in September 2003, which is still outstanding.

Yukos on May 19 received a legal warning from its creditors that would allow banks to demand early repayment of USD 2.6 billion.

© AFP

Subject: French news

 

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