Inside the Yukos Endgame

As in so many murder mysteries, the killing of the Russian oil giant Yukos — which began last fall with the arrest of its CEO, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and could climax at any time with the firm's bankruptcy or forced sale of assets — is being committed in public but was plotted in private. The hammer blows that are bringing down the firm have been delivered in plain sight: Khodorkovsky's ongoing trial for alleged fraud, tax evasion and embezzlement; the Russian government's demand for up to $6.8 billion in alleged unpaid corporate taxes; its simultaneous freezing of company assets, which makes that...