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Yukos CFO comes to the fore

Bruce Mismore, the CFO of embattled Russian oil producer Yukos, has taken on the role of chief spokesman for the company, revealing the threats and raids on Yukos by the Russian authorities.

With former chief executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky standing trial in Russia, Mismore has taken on responsibility for Yukos' filing for bankruptcy under US Chapter 11. Although Mismore is aided by his location in Houston, Texas, the move also demonstrates how central the finance function has become, with Chapter 11 the company's last hope ahead of the sale of unit Yuganskneftegas on Sunday.

Mismore told the Houston court that Yukos' offices had been raided hours before his testimony, which was confirmed by the Russian prosecutor's office, and that as a result of his affidavit he had been threatened with criminal charges and extradition to Russia.

Mismore, a US citizen, has worked from home in Houston since December 4, saying he fears arrest if he returns to Russia.

Judge Letitia Clark may rule on the Chapter 11 filing by Yukos today, with the case centring around whether the court will claim jurisdiction. State-sponsored Gazprom, which hopes to buy the Yuganskneftegas unit from Yukos, filed motion to dismiss late in the hearing, citing a 2002 suit against Yukos in which the company claimed US courts had no jurisdiction.