Support The Moscow Times!

TNK-BP Shareholder Case Dashed

A court is likely to throw out a $2.8 billion lawsuit against two BP executives on the board of the British major's Russian joint venture, TNK-BP, after a judge denied plaintiffs more time to secure the necessary shareholder support.

Andrei Prokhorov, a minority shareholder in TNK-BP, had filed the lawsuit against Peter Charow and Richard Sloan, related to BP's failed attempt to sign a tie-up with state-controlled Rosneft, despite a previous commitment by BP to use TNK-BP as its main investment vehicle in Russia.

However, Russian law on joint-stock companies stipulates that a plaintiff in such an action must own at least 1 percent of the company's shares for the case to proceed.

Prokhorov does not have this threshold in TNK-BP, the country's third-largest oil company, and a Russian judge refused him more time to attract other investors to his case, his lawyer and a lawyer for BP said.

"Today the court, during preliminary hearings, thwarted the plaintiff's requests to present him with more time so that other shareholders would join the lawsuit," Konstantin Lukoyanov, a lawyer for BP, said by telephone. This means that the case should be thrown out on the date set for a hearing on Nov. 10.

A lawyer for the TNK-BP minority shareholder confirmed the court decision. "The request [for more time] was not satisfied," Dmitry Chepurenko from Liniya Prava law firm said.

It is a welcome court victory for BP, which is locked in a dispute with the AAR consortium, the other main shareholder in TNK-BP and which is a grouping of Russian and Russia-connected oligarchs, over the failed Rosneft share swap and Arctic exploration deal.

Read more

We need your help now more than ever.

Independent media outlets and journalists in Russia are being increasingly targeted with “foreign agent” and “undesirable” labels, threatening the existence of the free press day by day.

Your donation to The Moscow Times directly supports the last independent English-language news source within Russia.