TNK-BP Russian owners seek to block Rosneft deal

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Russian shareholders of Russian-British joint venture TNK-BP have filed a complaint with a London court seeking to block a planned milestone deal between BP and Rosneft, a spokesman said Tuesday.

"I can confirm that the suit has been filed," said a spokesman for the shareholders, known collectively as Alfa Access Renova (AAR). A source with knowledge of the issue said the court would examine the case on Tuesday.

BP and Rosneft earlier this month agreed a deal to form a joint venture for Arctic oil exploration and take a cross-shareholding in one of the biggest ever tie-ups between a Russian and Western company.

TNK-BP is jointly owned 50 percent by the embattled oil giant and 50 percent by the Russian shareholders, a consortium of three Russian businessmen including billionaire banker Mikhail Fridman.

TNK-BP almost imploded during a venomous shareholder conflict in 2008 but its co-owners then made peace and it is seen as one of the crown jewel assets of the British company.

© 2011 AFP

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