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Saturday, December 17, 2005

Duma requests clarification over Evans appointment rumor

MOSCOW, December 16 (RIA Novosti) - The State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, has instructed the natural resources committee to request information from the government on the possible appointment of former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans as chairman of Russian state-owned oil major Rosneft. Leading business daily Kommersant claimed Tuesday that Evans, a long-time ally of U.S. President George W. Bush, had had a personal meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on December 7, at which the president offered him the position. Duma members are concerned about the national security implications of such an appointment. The Economic Development and Trade Ministry said Tuesday it had no official information to confirm the report. Kommersant said the move, if it were to come off, would be designed to reassure investors shaken by "the Yukos affair" in the run-up to Rosneft's initial public offering (IPO), which ministers have suggested will take place next year.

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