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TNK-BP Executive Arrested Over Fraud

A manager at Anglo-Russian oil firm TNK-BP has been arrested on suspicion of fraud, the Interior Ministry and the company said.

The Interior Ministry said in a statement that the suspect, who had previously worked in the Irkutsk regional government, had in September offered jobs in the Kremlin to two businessmen in return for payments of $3 million apiece.

TNK-BP in an e-mailed statement Friday confirmed that the man arrested was Igor Korneyev but said the arrest was not connected to his work at the company.

The Interior Ministry said the suspect, whom it did not name, “was arrested while receiving an advance payment of 3 million rubles ($97,500),” adding that he had worked in government relations at TNK-BP.

The company said Korneyev has worked at TNK-BP for three months, adding that he had not been directly involved in its affairs and had gone on a training course.

TNK-BP is a 50-50 joint venture between Britain’s BP and a quartet of Soviet-born billionaires — both of which, sources say, have received buyout offers totaling over $50 billion this week from state-controlled oil major Rosneft.

Executives at TNK-BP have had run-ins with law enforcement at times of shareholder friction. Two managers were arrested in 2008 amid a dispute over strategy that forced then-CEO Bob Dudley, who now heads BP, to flee Russia.

TNK-BP also faces corruption allegations from its former head of new business, Igor Lazurenko, who may release documents he says are evidence of high-level corruption in the company and in government.

The company has denied wrongdoing, but a London court this week lifted a gag order on the Lazurenko papers. The injunction will stay in force until the close of business Friday to allow time for an appeals court hearing.

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