Norex v. Blavatnik, Vekselberg, BP, Alfa, TNK, TNK-BP, et al.
In March 2011, Norex commenced a lawsuit against various defendants, including BP, New York resident Billionaire Russian expatriates Len Blavatnik and Victor Vekselberg, Tyumen Oil Company ("TNK"), a Russian company they owned, and TNK and BP's joint venture, TNK-BP, in New York Supreme Court based upon defendants' unlawful seizure of Norex's majority interest in Yugraneft, a Russian oil company with a lucrative oil field in the Tyumen region of Western Siberia. On September 16, 2011, defendants moved to dismiss Norex's complaint, and on October 26, 2011, Norex filed its opposition papers in the New York state court. We have made available the parties' public filings on this website. A chronology of events, as well as several key documents relating to the dispute, can also be found on the website. Those newly discovered documents demonstrate that BP was aware of and complicit with illegal conduct by TNK and the Russian Oligarchs named in the Complaint.
Statement from Alex Rotzang, Chairman of Norex Petroleum Limited:
The idea that BP had nothing to do with the Russian Oligarchs and TNK at the time of the illegal takeover of Yugraneft is preposterous. BP may certainly wish to forget its historical involvement with TNK, but it would be revisionist history to suggest that BP had nothing to do with TNK at the time. BP was an investor in Sidanko, which owned Chernogorneft, which, in turn, had a 40% interest in Yugraneft, and BP lost its own derivative interest in Yugraneft when TNK took over Chernogorneft in a corrupt and trumped up bankruptcy which BP unsuccessfully attempted to fight against. After losing the battle and becoming a victim of the Russian Oligarchs and TNK's corporate raiding tactics itself in the late 1990s, BP decided to make a "deal with the devil" in 2003 AS BP'S OWN INTERNAL DOCUMENTS REFLECT. BP PAID THE RUSSIAN OLIGARCHS $6.5 BILLION DOLLARS to join forces with TNK to form TNK-BP as a 50/50 joint venture to protect its interests in Russia. At the time, BP knew full well, and from direct, up close and personal experience, that TNK had misappropriated Yugraneft's valuable oil field, which was, and continues to be, an important component of TNK-BP's oil well assets, generating AT LEAST $ 1 BILLION in oil revenues over the last decade. Under well-established New York law, the Russian Oligarchs and TNK's prior bad acts in furtherance of the conspiracy to deprive Norex of its rightful interest in and profits from Yugraneft are imputed to BP even though BP did not join the conspiracy until 2003.
The irony is that BP has recently been on the receiving end of the Russian Oligarchs' strong-arm corporate raiding tactics, including, significantly, the expulsion of BP's now CEO, and TNK-BP's then President, Robert Dudley from Russia in 2008. As BP's own internal documents reflect, Dudley went into hiding out of fear for his safety. More recently, the Russian Oligarchs' killing of the multi-billion dollar BP / Rosneft deal, including the initiation of lawsuits against BP, led to the raids of BP's Moscow office just weeks ago for documents by armed bailiffs under the "authority" of the Russian court in which the action against BP is now pending. BP has gone on record decrying the lawlessness of these proceedings and the Russian Oligarchs and TNK's strong-arm tactics. Indeed, British Prime Minister David Cameron met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev shortly after the raids to discuss his "real" concerns about these and other recent events in Russia, noting that British businesses needed to "have faith that the state, the judiciary and the police will protect their hard work and not put the obstacles of bureaucracy, regulation and corruption in their way." Whether it chooses to admit it or not, BP is now suffering the consequences of its "Faustian bargain" with TNK.