Saturday, 12 November 2011

Siberian court denies 409 billion claim against BP subsidiary

Tyumen region Arbitration court rejected a 409 billion ruble lawsuit by TNK-BP minority shareholders against board members nominated by BP, Reuters quoted the company’s lawyer as saying on Friday.

The lawsuit is a part of a feud between the multinational oil major BP and local partners TNK-BP over the former’s failed attempt to launch an arctic exploration alliance with state-controlled Rosneft.

“The claim was initially absurd and legally groundless,” BP lawyer Konstantin Lukoyanov said in a statement.

Lukoyanov said the motivational part of the decision was not ready, but the court explained that the lawsuit was rejected as none of the circumstances listed in the lawsuit were proven, Interfax reported.

The judge decided that the claimants owned less than 1 percent of TNK-BP shares, the necessary minimum according to Russian law.

Andrei Prokhorov, the main claimant and TNK-BP minority shareholder, sued BP and its subsidiary who he thinks “succeeded in getting the board of directors of TNK-BP Limited to deny proposals for TNK-BP Holding to take part in the strategic BP-Rosenft partnership,” Interfax quoted his statement as saying.

Prokhorov estimated the damages first at 87 billion rubles, then increased the damages to154,284 billion, and finally settled on 409 billion rubles.

BP and Rosneft had agreed to team up to explore for oil in Russia’s Arctic offshore region and swap shares, but AAR launched a successful legal action to block the deal, saying it violated an exclusivity clause in TNK-BP’s shareholder agreement, Reuters reported.

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