Emerging Markets : Oligarchs Tremble After Khodorkovsky’s Conviction



Chubais: Takes the blame

The trial of former Yukos Oil Company head Mikhail Khodorkovsky finally ended, as the former oligarch was sentenced to nine years in a prison camp on charges of fraud and tax evasion. A few days later, a top government prosecutor warned darkly that the government planned to bring charges against other oligarchs, sending a brief shiver through markets.

The late May blackout that left millions in Moscow and surrounding regions without power resulted in calls for the resignation of Unified Energy Systems head Anatoly Chubais. The target of an assassination attempt earlier in the year, and one of Russias least popular figures due in part to his role in the privatizations of the 1990s, Chubais took blame for the blackout but said he would not quit.

The flow of public offerings by Russian corporates continued. In early June Russias biggest steelmaker, Evraz, sold an 8.3% stake to raise $422 million in an IPO on the London Stock Exchange. Shares were sold toward the lower end of the targeted range, with the backdrop of steel prices falling to a 15-month low. A week later Rambler Media, a television broadcaster that controls Russias second-largest Internet search engine, went public on Londons Alternative Investment Market, raising $40 million.

Kim Iskyan