BP hit by raid at its offices in Moscow
Nikhil Kumar is The Independent's New York correspondent. He was formerly assistant editor on the foreign desk and has also done a variety of jobs on the city desk, where he wrote about markets, commodities and other business and economics topics.
Thursday 01 September 2011
BP's failed tie-up with Russia's Rosneft came back to haunt the company yesterday after bailiffs searching for documents connected to the doomed partnership mounted a raid on its offices in Moscow.
The action came less than 24 hours after the US oil firm ExxonMobil signed an agreement with Rosneft, freezing out the UK group by securing the chance to explore the same Arctic oil and gas blocks that BP had planned to exploit just months ago. The bailiffs did not give any reason for the raid but lawyers for minority shareholders in TNK-BP Holdings, the main subsidiary of the oil company's Russian joint venture, said it was connected to their $3bn (£1.8bn) lawsuit over the collapsed tie-up.
BP and the Alfa Access Renova consortium own equal stakes in TNK-BP Limited, which in turn owns around 95 per cent of TNK-BP Holdings.
In July, a court in Tyumen in Siberia upheld a claim by some of the investors who own the remaining 5 per cent for damages as a result of the failure of the Rosneft tie-up. Yesterday, their law firm said the raid had come after BP failed to furnish documents connected to the deal. "We therefore applied once again in the Court of Arbitration of Tyumen Region to have the measures to secure evidence replaced," they said. The minority shareholders include Andrei Prokhorov, Oleg Gavrilenko, Svetlana Rodina, Klaus Edward, Evgeniy Filippov and Vladimir Sohnenko.
BP said there was "no legitimate basis" for the Tyumen claim, which also names TNK-BP Holdings directors Peter Charow and Richard Sloan. A spokesman for the company confirmed that the raid commenced at 7:30am Moscow time, when staff were asked to leave. "We see these actions as pressure on BP's operations in Russia," BP Russia president, Jeremy Huck, told the Interfax news agency.
The raid is the latest twist in a saga that has bruised both the oil company and its American chief executive Bob Dudley, who had unveiled the Rosneft pact amid much fanfare in January.
But things turned sour when Alfa Access Renova objected, claiming that the move violated its existing shareholder agreement with BP.
- 1 Woman 'suffocates newborn baby in plastic bag and puts it in her desk minutes after giving birth'
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years
Nepal earthquake in pictures: Photos show devastation caused by 7.8 magnitude earthquake
Royal baby: Live updates as superbug closes ward at St Mary's Hospital in London where Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth
Nepal earthquake: Rescuers forced to dig with their bare hands in search for survivors as images show damage to historic buildings
Ed Miliband and Boris Johnson in angry clash live on BBC's Andrew Marr Show
Bali Nine executions: British grandmother on death row in Indonesia Lindsay Sandiford says she 'just wants to get it over with'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
iJobs Money & Business
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£50000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Service...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is the o...