‘TNK-BP row is a dispute over control’

June 12th, 2008 - 8:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Stockholm, June 12 (DPA) The ongoing row over Russian-British oil firm TNK-BP was basically a “dispute over control,” BP chairman Peter Sutherland said Thursday. TNK-BP is Russia’s third largest oil producer and recently its chief executive was questioned over alleged tax evasion in Russia. There has also been speculation of a possible takeover by a Russian state-owned company like Gazprom.

When asked to comment, Sutherland read a prepared statement to reporters in connection with a meeting of the International Chamber of Commerce in Stockholm.

The struggle was “a much simpler dispute over control - and perhaps ultimately ownership - of the company,” Sutherland said.

“This is just a return to the corporate raiding activities that were prevalent in Russia in the 1990s,” he added, saying that while Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said they were “relics” they continued to be used.

Sutherland said he and others hoped new Russian President Dmitry Medvedev would push to “restore respect for and the rule of law” as the Russian leader has recently expressed.

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