Rosneft and Bashneft have filed a lawsuit seeking RUB131.64bn ($2.2bn) as compensation from Russian conglomerate Sistema and Sistema-Invest over a dispute related to assets.
The lawsuit has been filed in the Bashkortostan arbitration court in Russia with the compensation amount calculated to be the sum of dividends that Sistema received from the oil company Bashneft between 2009 and 2014.
Sistema, in turn has filed a counter lawsuit against Rosneft and Bashneft in the Arbitration Court of the City of Moscow, seeking damages of RUB330.5bn ($5.58bn).
In 2009, Sistema made a move to buy a controlling stake in Bashneft for $2.5bn. However, five years later, the Russian government seized Sistema’s stake claiming that the privatization of the oil company was illegal.
In October last year, Rosneft acquired a controlling stake of around 50% in Bashneft from the government for RUB329.69bn ($5.58bn). In May 2017, Rosneft alleged that Sistema had stripped certain assets from Bashneft, following which it filed a lawsuit seeking RUB171bn ($2.89bn) in compensation.
Rosneft says that due to Sistema’s actions, breaches had resulted in the deadlines and maintenance and repair quality and in equipment wear leading, among other things, to accidents at the plants of Ufa Group.
According to Rosneft, all the factors forced to raise several billions of additional funds to ensure the industrial safety of Bashneft assets.
Rosneft, in a statement, said: “Claims for the return of funds removed in the form of dividends are consistent with the ruling of the court of first instance in which the Defendant is deemed to be a shareholder acting in bad faith in unlawful possession of shares and guilty of willfully inflicting damages on Bashneft and removing property and assets for its own benefit.”
Sistema, in turn, has charged both Rosneft and Bashneft of intentionally carrying out several actions during 2017 with the sole objective of enriching themselves and driving it towards bankruptcy by causing losses.
The company says that it has been compelled to take actions to defend its legitimate interests and has therefore asked the court to compensate the losses it has incurred.
Image: Bashneft oil pump in Bashkortostan. Photo: courtesy of Acodered/Wikipedia.org.