Thursday, April 23, 2009
Court orders Russneft to pay $148 mln to state giant Rosneft
MOSCOW, April 23, 2009 (RIA Novosti) - The Moscow Arbitration Court upheld on Thursday a claim lodged by a subsidiary of state-owned Rosneft for 5.036 billion rubles ($148 million) against Russneft over the illegal purchase of a Yukos asset. Samaraneftegaz, a Volga-based subsidiary of the state oil giant, told the court it was owed 18 billion rubles ($0.53 bln) by the defunct oil company Yukos, of which it received 12 billion rubles during the company's liquidation. The company accused Russneft of illegally buying a 50% stake in the Zapadno-Malobalykskoye production unit, based in the Khanty-Mansi autonomous district, from Yukos. Samaraneftegaz asked the court to recover from Russneft either the cash sum or the asset. The Moscow Arbitration Court had seized the interest in the production unit last November. Russneft was bought by tycoon Oleg Deripaska in 2007 for around $3 bln from businessman Mikhail Gutseriyev. However, Gutseriyev fled the country amid tax claims, and the purchase has yet to be officially approved by the anti-monopoly authorities. The previous hearing on the Samaraneftegaz case, which took place on March 23, was adjourned at the Zapadno-Malobalykskoye company's request. The Zapadno-Malobalykskoye deposit has an estimated 25 million tons in recoverable oil reserves. Rosneft became the country's largest oil company after buying up most of Yukos's assets during the company's liquidation. The company bought Samaraneftegaz at an auction in May 2007.