Who would bid US$3.9 billion at an auction and then disappear? The mystery is gripping Russia's business community after a Moscow-based company called Prana appeared to do just that.
Prana won a dramatic bidding war on May 11 with the biggest Russian oil producer, Rosneft, for offices and a trading firm belonging to the defunct Yukos oil empire.
But the elusive Prana has not yet revealed its ownership structure, a key condition for the sale to go ahead, Russia's anti-monopoly service said earlier in a statement.
"The search for the identity of the mysterious bidder should keep us entertained through the news-hungry summer months," Al Breach, chief economist at UBS investment bank in Moscow, said in a research note.
The anti-monopoly service said on Tuesday that it had extended a deadline for ruling on the deal until Aug. 2 after documents sent to Prana's registered address in Moscow were returned to the sender.
"There's no way of finding out the ownership of this company. We have no contact with them. That's the whole problem," said Alexander Pirozhenko, an official from the anti-monopoly service.
The mystery has spawned numerous conspiracy theories, including that Prana is a shell for Rosneft's rival, state-run gas giant Gazprom, or disgruntled former Yukos managers.
A Gazprom spokesman has denied any connection with Prana.
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