BP officials denounce raid by Russian officers
Russian law enforcement officers armed with assault rifles raided BP’s Russian offices, company spokesmen reported in a statement, adding that there were "no legitimate grounds” for the action, and that the Siberian court decision it was based on should be overturned.
The raid was related to a long-running dispute between BP and its Russian partner, TNK-BP, over oil exploration in the Russian Arctic. Just the day before, ExxonMobil signed a deal with Rosneft that includes Arctic exploration. BP said the raid was directed at a part of the company that was not involved in the dispute with TNK.
"If the Tyumen Court decision is allowed to stand, it means any party can raid a company's premises at will and examine all its documents," BP said.
BP is involved in a dispute with its Russian partners over that oil-exploration deal. The raid was related to a lawsuit pending in an arbitration court in the Siberian city of Tyumen, a Russian civil court, which authorized the search. The case stemmed from objections that BP’s private partners in the TNK-BP joint venture raised to BP’s agreement to form a separate partnership with Rosneft for Arctic exploration.
BP executives say they had assumed that since the Russian government had endorsed the deal, and the state company signed it, it would receive support from the Kremlin.