Russian state will not interfere in TNK-BP conflict

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday that the conflict between the shareholders in TNK-BP must be resolved through standard legal procedures and on a corporate level.

Medvedev spoke during talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron, who is on an official visit to Russia.

“Executive powers, obviously, cannot interfere in this process,” presidential aide Sergei Prikhodko quoted Medvedev as saying.

“As far as we understand, the British side does not intend to politicize this issue either, and this is very important,” Prikhodko said, adding that future activities of the British Petroleum in Russia must be addressed at the corporate level.

Russian investigators searched BP’s Moscow office on August 31 and September 1 in a case brought by a group of minority shareholders in its Russian joint venture, TNK-BP. They claim that the collapse of a $16-billion share swap and Arctic development agreement between BP and Russian major Rosneft caused TNK-BP $3 billion in losses.

The court ordered BP to hand over documents connected to the Rosneft deal.

BP has denied any wrongdoing. The BP-Rosneft alliance collapsed after BP’s Russian partners in TNK-BP won a court ruling upholding a TNK-BP shareholder agreement that says any significant involvement in the Russian energy sector must first be offered to the company.

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