MOSCOW, December 3 - RAPSI. TNK-BP minority shareholder Andrei Prokhorov has filed an application with the Eighth Commercial Court of Appeals withdrawing his claims to recover 288 billion rubles ($8.8 billion) from BP Russian Investment Limited (BPRI) and BP p.l.c, Prokhorov's attorney Dmitry Chepurenko told the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI/rapsinews.com).
Defense attorney Konstantin Lukoyanov told RAPSI that his clients had predicted that this would be the final outcome.
He said that Prokhorov's attorneys had attempted to bargain for some personal guarantees in exchange for the dismissal of the lawsuit.
"We consider these kinds of negotiations inadmissible. The lawsuit must be withdrawn without any terms or must be dismissed by the court. The minority shareholders' representative should refer to those who ordered the lawsuit to be filed," BPs representative said.
Prokhorov's attorney told the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI/rapsinews.com) that comments from the plaintiff may follow, but did not specify when.
On August 6, the Tyumen Region Commercial Court partially upheld Prokhorov's lawsuit, in which he initially sought 288 billion rubles ($9.14 billion) from the two co-defendants.
A court of appeals had set December 14 for considering the appeals against the ruling.
The plaintiff claimed that this amount was equal to the losses TNK-BP Holding incurred from the transaction between BP and Rosneft which never took place. BPRI, Rosneft and TNK-BP Limited directors David Keith Peattie, Brian Gilvary and Lord George Robertson are appealing the ruling.
The legal action stems from allegations that BP PLC and its subsidiary BP Russian Investments Limited, acting as TNK-BP Limited shareholders, forced their boards to turn down a proposal by TNK-BP Holding to form a strategic partnership with Rosneft and purchase its shares. This lost opportunity allegedly inflicted losses on the TNK-BP Holding.
In January 2011, Rosneft and BP agreed on the equity swap, in which the Russian company would get 5% of BP's ordinary shares in exchange for 9.5% of Rosneft shares; the companies also agreed to develop the Arctic's Russian shelf in partnership. But according to the lawsuit by AAR Consortium, which represents the interests of TNK-BPs Russian shareholders, the transaction was blocked. In June 2011, the negotiations on the transaction ceased.
Prokhorov believed that if TNK-BP had become a member of the strategic partnership between the two companies, then under a swap agreement it would have purchased 1.01 billion common shares in Rosneft, which in turn would have increased in value and brought higher profits to TNK-BP. Therefore, he maintained 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.