TNK-BP group claims bullying in BP case

Dec. 28, 2011 at 7:21 AM

MOSCOW, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Russian police pressured minority shareholders at Anglo-Russian joint venture TNK-BP into dropping legal claims against BP, an executive said.

A proposed January deal between BP and Rosneft for work in the arctic collapsed after TNK-BP said the proposal violated terms of its shareholder agreement with BP. Rosneft later landed a similar deal with U.S. supermajor Exxon Mobil.

Andrei Prokhorov, one of the minority shareholders involved in legal action against BP, told a Russian court he was forced to sign a statement saying he didn't have a claim against the British supermajor.

He said colleagues faced "threats of criminal proceedings and psychological pressure" to back away from the legal action, The Daily Telegraph newspaper in London reports.

Prokhorov's actions were tossed out of court and BP, which had its Moscow offices raided during the summer, described the charges as baseless.

Minority shareholders claim that "to scare them, the (police) unreasonably suggest that the minority shareholders took part in corporate raiding," said Prokhorov.

BP didn't comment on Prokhorov's allegations but said the courts have "so far" ruled in its favor.

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