Sechin snubbed by Medvedev over BP failure

City A.M. Reporter
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev rapped premier Vladimir Putin's top dealmaker on Wednesday for lapses that contributed to the collapse of a major oil deal between Rosneft and BP.

The $16bn (£9.9bn) share swap and Arctic exploration pact, masterminded by Putin's deputy Igor Sechin, fell apart on Monday when BP and Rosneft failed to agree on a $32bn buyout of the partners in BP's Russian venture TNK-BP.

The four tycoons - Mikhail Fridman, German Khan, Viktor Vekselberg and Len Blavatnik - had blocked the deal in court, arguing it violated exclusivity terms in the shareholder agreement governing their 50-50 joint venture, TNK-BP.

Medvedev, speaking at a major set-piece news conference, appeared to agree.

"Those who prepared the deal should have paid closer attention to the nuances of the shareholder agreement," said Medvedev, a lawyer by training.

"It would have been necessary to conduct more careful due diligence inside the government."

Medvedev's comments amounted to an indirect jab at Sechin, who recently stepped down as Rosneft chairman after the president ordered ministers to give up top jobs on the boards of large state-controlled companies.

The failure to close the BP transaction marked an unaccustomed setback for Sechin, who has become used to calling the shots since he oversaw state-controlled Rosneft's acquisition of the prime assets of bankrupted oil major Yukos.