BP gets upper hand in Russian director lawsuit

A RUSSIAN court is likely to throw out a $2.8bn (£1.8bn) lawsuit brought by a shareholder against two BP executives on the board of the oil major’s Russian joint venture, TNK-BP, after a judge denied the claimant more time to gather the necessary shareholder support.

Andrey Prokhorov, a minority shareholder in TNK-BP, filed a claim against Peter Charow and Richard Sloan, over its failed alliance with state-controlled Rosneft, despite BP’s previous agreement to use TNK-BP as its main investment vehicle in Russia.

Prokhorov, who owns 0.0000106 per cent of TNK-BP’s shares, had asked the Siberian court to extend the deadline for minority shareholders to join the claim – which the judge yesterday denied.

This means the case should be thrown out on the date set for a hearing on 10 November if Prokhorov does not gather support from at least one per cent of TNK-PB’s investors.

BP still faces a separate $4.9bn lawsuit brought by Prokhorov and other minor shareholders over BP’s failed tie-up with Rosneft.

BP said yesterday it believed “that there is no merit to the lawsuits against them since there were in fact no damages in the form of lost profits.”