Russian law firm Rusatommet has filed a lawsuit against Roman Abramovich, the owner of Sibneft oil company
Russian law firm Rusatommet has filed a lawsuit against Roman Abramovich, the owner of Sibneft oil company, accusing him of illegal ownership of the company, which was sold to him for $1.3 billion by exiled oligarch Boris Berezovsky in 1995, the Russian business daily Vedomosti reported last Friday.
The lawyers claim that Berezovsky?s Oil Financial Company illegally purchased the controlling stock via a deposit auction in 1995. They have already sent a request to a Moscow court asking it to scrap the deal and return 51 percent (2.3 million) of Sibneft?s shares to the government.
According to Rusatommet experts, deposit auctions were used illegally to privatize state property, and former Russian president Boris Yeltsin exceeded his office by implementing such a law. Moreover, they say the state exchanged shares in major companies for its own funds, because in the 1990s the Finance Ministry used to place temporarily available funds in commercial banks that in turn bought shares in state enterprises at auctions.
Analysts say that the lawsuit could prevent Sibneft from merge with the national gas monopoly Gazprom.
By the way, earlier this year Rusatommet filed a similar suit concerning the privatization of the Yukos oil company.