MOSCOW (Reuters) - A minority shareholder in TNK-BP TNBP.MM has increased its damage claims against BP (BP.L) to 409 billion roubles ($13.2 billion) from 154 billion based on potential profits in a Russian court case over a failed deal with Rosneft (ROSN.MM).
Minority shareholder Andrey Prokhorov has claimed that TNK-BP, Russia’s third-largest oil company, suffered damages because BP decided not to act via its existing Russian joint venture in the Rosneft deal, in violation of an exclusivity clause in the TNK-BP shareholder agreement.
The original claim was filed in May.
“The claims are being increased in connection with lost profit on a number of offshore projects in the Arctic... in which TNK-BP Holding would participate had it become part of the strategic alliance with Rosneft,” Dmitriy Chepurenko, a partner in law firm Liniya Prava, representing the shareholder.
In an emailed response to Reuters BP said: “The claim is absurd, groundless and has no connection with law. As there was not and could not be any damage arising, estimation of damages depends only on so called claimants’ fantasy.”
The BP-Rosneft deal collapsed in May after a successful legal challenge by the four Soviet-born billionaires who own half of TNK-BP Ltd, a 50-50 joint venture that is half-owned by BP. Prokhorov is a shareholder in listed unit TNK-BP Holding.
Prokhorov launched a similar complaint against two BP directors, worth $2.8 billion. On Wednesday a BP lawyer said that this claim will likely be thrown out by a judge in the city of Tyumen because the plaintiff’s shareholding was too small make the suit eligible under Russian law.
($1=31.110 Russian Roubles)
Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Douglas Busvine and Mike Nesbit