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Injunction Stops Raids Against BP

BP said it halted a court ruling in Russia that led to raids on its Moscow offices last month while it appeals.

A court in the Tyumen region had ruled on Aug. 30 that documents could be seized on behalf of minority shareholders in the TNK-BP venture, who claimed that the failure of an Arctic exploration deal with Rosneft deprived the unit of $3 billion in potential profit. Armed men occupied BP's Moscow office on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 to search for evidence.

BP chief executive Robert Dudley this week visited Russia with U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron in the first meeting between a British leader and Vladimir Putin since 2007. Last month's raid echoed BP's trouble in Russia in 2008, when Dudley fled Russia after running TNK-BP for five years.

BP Exploration Operating Co., the raided entity, said the move was part of a "pressure campaign."

According to Tuesday's ruling, enforcement procedures against BP EOC that led to the raids "must be stopped," BP said in an e-mailed statement. "The hearing of BP EOC's appeal against the ruling issued on July 19 will take place in the appeal court in Omsk on 7 October."

Lawyers representing the minority shareholders in TNK-BP said they could still seek the documents they are looking for during the court hearings. That may lengthen the damages appraisal process, according to an e-mailed statement.

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