Heritage oil has been hit by a $313m (£193m) lawsuit by its former partner in Uganda, Tullow Oil. Tullow claims it is owed the money to cover taxes it paid on the oilfields it purchased from the Jersey-based company in 2010.
Heritage, which has vowed to "vigorously and robustly" defend itself, pulled out of the east African counrty last June, selling its 50 per cent stake in three giant oilfields to Tullow for $1.45bn. However, Ugandan authorities insisted Heritage was liable to pay capital gains tax on the sale – a claim the company denies – and blocked Tullow's attempt to sell two 33 per cent stakes in the fields earlier this year.
This forced Tullow to pay a $313m security on the tax bill to secure approval, money which the oil explorer is now seeking to get back in the High Court.
Tullow said yesterday: "It is the company's clear duty to its shareholders to reclaim that money and shift the liability back to Heritage where it belongs."
Heritage denied the allegation, saying: "We believe the claim has no basis and will vigorously and robustly defend it. The decision to pay the $313m was made without Heritage's knowledge or consent."