Minority shareholder reduces claims against BP to $8.8 bln
- Shareholders' $12.5 bln lawsuit against BP to be heard on July 9
- Multi-billion lawsuit by minority shareholder against BP to be reconsidered
- TNK-BP shareholder appeals refusal to recover $13bln from BP
- BP initiates recovery of damages from minority shareholders
- TNK-BP shareholder increases claim against BP subsidiaries up to $12.61 bln
MOSCOW, July 9 - RAPSI. TNK-BP Holding's minority shareholder Andrey Prokhorov, who is claiming damages from BP Russian Investment Limited (BPRI) and BP p.l.c. in the Tyumen Regional Commercial Court, has reduced his claim amount from $12.5 billion to $8.8 billion, the court told the Russian Legal Information Agency on Monday.
Today the court postponed the hearing until July 26. This is the second round of litigation.
The cause of the legal action stems from the fact that BP p.l.c. (parent of BP Russian Investments Limited) and BP Russian Investments Limited, as TNK-BP Limited shareholders, forced their boards to turn down a proposal by TNK-BP Holdings for a strategic partnership with Rosneft and purchase of its shares. This missed opportunity allegedly inflicted losses on TNK-BP Holding.
In June, the West-Siberian Federal Commercial Court dismissed all judicial acts on the case and remanded the lawsuit.
At the same time, the court upheld Prokhorov's appeal disputing the Tyumen Region Commercial Court decision of November 18, 2011, and the ruling of the Eighth Commercial Court of Appeals of March 12, 2012, when the court refused to uphold his claims.
According to BP attorney Konstantin Lukoyanov, the lawsuits against the BP companies were absurd and were a misuse of rights. He added that the first and appellate courts confirmed that the lawsuits were frivolous.
According to Lukoyanov, the BP companies believe that the further appeal of the decisions, as well as the lawsuit itself, have nothing to do with the interests of TNK-BP shareholders and their company.
He also stressed that referring the matter to the appellate court was unlikely to be successful, as the lawsuit was groundless, and further proceedings would only lead to greater legal expenses, which may also be subject to recovery.
On August 9, 2011, the Tyumen Region Commercial Court accepted the lawsuits filed by TNK-BP Holding minority shareholders to recover losses from top BP officials Peter Charow and Richard Sloan, as well as the holding's parental companies BP p.l.c. and BP Russian Investments Limited.
TNK-BP minority shareholders maintain that Charow and Sloan must have known about the talks between BP p.l.c or any other BP company and the Russian oil giant Rosneft.
The claims against the board members amounted to 87.112 billion rubles ($2.58 billion), while claims of 409.284 billion rubles ($12.5 billion) were made against the parent companies.
BP, one of six oil and gas "supermajors," and Rosneft agreed to a share swap and the joint development of Russia's Arctic shelf in January 2011. However, the AAR Consortium, which represents the Russian TNK-BP shareholders, blocked the agreement. Talks came to a close in June.
Prokhorov believes that if TNK-BP had become a member of the strategic partnership between the two companies, then under the swap agreement it would have purchased about 1.01 billion common shares in Rosneft, which in turn would have increased in value and brought higher profits to TNK-BP. Therefore, he maintains that the difference between the current fair price of the shares and the price at which TNK-BP would have acquired the stake in the swap was lost profit.
BP Russian Investments Limited and BP p.l.c. hold that the claims are groundless as there is no proof of any losses.