BP gets upper hand in Russian court battle

Energy Reuters

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian court is expected to throw out a $2.8 billion lawsuit against two BP <BP.L> executives on the board of the British major's Russian joint venture, TNK-BP <TNBP.MM>, a lawyer for BP said on Wednesday.

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A court will proceed on November 10 with a formal hearing in the 87 billion roubles ($2.8 billion) suit, but a judge ruled on Wednesday that the plaintiff cannot garner enough shareholder support for his case, the lawyer, Konstantin Lukoyanov said by telephone.

BP itself still faces a $5 billion complaint in a separate hearing on a parallel suit to be held on the next day, in Tyumen arbitration court, he said.

Lukoyanov said the arbitration court, in TNK-BP's West Siberian base of Tyumen, told the plaintiff, Andrey Prokhorov, he could not proceed with attempts to bring in enough shareholders to the complaint over BP's failed deal with Russia's top crude producer, Rosneft <ROSN.MM>.

The hearing must still be held under Russian law and is set for November 10. ($1 = 31.553 Russian Roubles)

(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin)

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