Yukos Figure Killed in Helicopter Crash
MOSCOW (AP) _ The managing director of a major shareholder in Russia’s embattled Yukos oil has been killed in a helicopter crash in Britain, officials said.
Stephen Curtis of the Menatep Group died when the helicopter crashed near an airport in Bournemouth in southern England, during a flight from London to the seaside town, Menatep said.
One other person was killed, the spokesman said. The Interfax news agency quoted Menatep spokesman Yuri Kotler as saying there was apparently nobody aboard aside from Curtis and the pilot.
British police were investigating the crash. The Menatep Group is a holding company and a major shareholder in Yukos.
Group Menatep appointed Curtis managing director last November in the midst of a federal investigation into Menatep’s shareholders. The shareholders have in the past included former Yukos chief executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky who has been in jail since late October on charges including fraud and tax evasion.
Khodorkovsky stepped down as Yukos chief shortly after his arrest, which was widely seen as punishment for his financial clout and perceived political ambitions. One of the jailed tycoon’s lawyers said recently that Khodrkovsy had relinquished all his shares in Group Menatep.
Curtis, a British lawyer, replaced Platon Lebedev, a Yukos shareholder who was arrested last July on charges of state theft in connection with the 1994 privatization of a fertilizer plant and remains in jail awaiting trial.
International arrest warrants have been issued to three other shareholders _ Leonid Nevzlin, Mikhail Brudno and Vladimir Dubov. The three are living in Israel as self-avowed political refugees.
On the Net: http://www.groupmenatep.com