BP wins Russian court cases over TNK-BP

Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:15am EST
 
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By Vladimir Soldatkin and Melissa Akin

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian court threw out two multi-billion dollar lawsuits against BP on Friday, handing the British oil company a key victory in legal battles surrounding its Russian oil venture TNK-BP.

A judge in the Siberian oil town of Tyumen rejected suits brought by Andrey Prokhorov, a minority shareholder in Russia's No.3 oil firm; one for $13 billion from BP and another for $2.8 billion from two BP nominees on the board of operating unit TNK-BP Holding (TBH).

Prokhorov had said TNK-BP suffered financial losses because it had been excluded from a planned strategic alliance unveiled in January between BP and Rosneft.

"None of the grounds for the lawsuits were proved in court," BP lawyer Konstantin Lukoyanov told Reuters.

Jeremy Huck, president of BP Russia, said the ruling was "a positive contribution to the investment climate in Russia".

"We are pleased with the court's decision to reject the groundless claims against BP and two TNK-BP Holding board members. As a shareholder of TNK-BP, we are committed to helping the company grow," he said in a statement.

A writing ruling on the $13 billion lawsuit against BP will be issued within days, Lukoyanov said. The court found against the $2.8 billion suit because Prokhorov did not muster the necessary 1 percent shareholding for the case to go ahead.

Prokhorov's lawyers said they would appeal the ruling, saying they were given less than two hours to state their case on Friday.   Continued...

 
<p>A BP petrol station sign is seen at dawn in west London October 25, 2011. REUTERS/Toby Melville</p>