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Bailiffs searched the Moscow offices of BP in Moscow

September 01/2011

(Financial Times) -- Bailiffs searched the Moscow offices of BP in Moscow on Wednesday, adding to the UK-based oil major’s woes in Russia a day after ExxonMobil stole a march on it by signing a historic Arctic exploration deal with Russian oil major Rosneft.


BP officials said the search was related to a lawsuit by minority shareholders in TNK-BP who are suing for USD 3 bln over the collapse of a similar tie-up between BP and Rosneft earlier this year.


Andrei Prokhorov, a Russian businessman who filed the suit in July, alleged that two BP executives who sit on the board of TNK-BP must have known about the UK group’s negotiations with Rosneft, and their failure to inform TNK-BP caused damage to the company.


The lawsuit was upheld by a court in Siberia’s Tyumen region in July. BP has said the minority shareholders were pursuing a “groundless action” that it would vigorously contest.


BP on Wednesday said it believed there “are no legitimate grounds for the raid this morning”. The offices being raided belong to BP Exploration Operating Company, a subsidiary which “has no connection with the process in Tyumen and is not engaged in any shareholder dispute”. The company added that it would “defend its interest vigorously” and believed there are “no grounds for damages”.


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Tags:Exxon Mobil.
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