Russia: State to seize shares in oil producer

Court rules against Bashneft over ‘improper privatisation’

Russia won court approval yesterday to seize shares held by a billionaire businessman's company in oil producer Bashneft over its "improper privatisation", marking a success for the latest state move to reclaim prized corporate assets.

Moscow's arbitration court ruled in favour of prosecutors who said that Bashneft had been unlawfully sold to local authorities in the early 2000s before being sold in 2009 to oil-to-telecoms conglomerate Sistema, controlled by tycoon Vladimir Yevtushenkov.

Judge Olga Alexandrova said shares held by Sistema would be moved to Russian property fund Rosimushchestvo, which manages state-owned assets.

She said that Sistema, which denies the allegations, had a month in which to appeal.


The decision is the latest move allowing the return to state control of oil and gas assets sold off in the rapid and chaotic privatisations of the 1990s after the Soviet Union collapsed.

– (Reuters)