Rosneft filed a lawsuit and demanded of the media holding RBC 3,124 billion in compensation for reputational damages for an article headlined “Sechin asked the government to protect Rosneft from BP”, published April 11, 2016. The court will take place on November 11, reports RNS. RBC denies all claims.
“By order of the plaintiff the center for professional assessment provides an opinion regarding the analysis of the impact of the possible consequences of the distribution by the defendant of defamatory information on the cost of the reputation of the plaintiff. The analysis showed that the minimum value of goodwill will be not less than three billion 124 million rubles, respectively, the specified amount shall be recovered from the defendant,” said RNS the representative of “Rosneft”. He noted that on 13 October the amount will update.
Associate, RBC, in turn, said that the information presented does not impair the reputation, but on the contrary, contributed to its growth. However, she stated that the information was given to journalists on condition of anonymity, several citizens, so it is impossible to request for their calling as witnesses.
The lawsuit was filed April 27, journalists Timothy Dzyadko, Lyudmila Podobedova and Maxim tovkaylo – authors of the article. Also among the defendants included the company “Business-Press”, is the founder and publisher of the newspaper, RBC-TV presenter Konstantin Bochkarev.
“We demand misinformation, and also, obviously, going to claim damages the business reputation. You need to do still some work, we’ll spend of course. In order to prove damages to business reputation, you need to have some material evidence of the damage”, – said the press-Secretary of “Rosneft” Mikhail Leontyev.
The lawsuit points to the article RBC, comments on the RBC channel and the persistent spread of misinformation after the publication of our rebuttal“.
The disputed article was on the upcoming privatization of shares of “Rosneft”. It was alleged that the President of the company, for fear that BP will collect blocking stake in the company, asked the government to restrict the ability of customers to cooperate with BP.
According to one of the officials, Sechin has suggested the government not to sell 19.5% stake in the market, and find at least two buyers among Asian companies or funds. “The condition of the stock is likely to be a ban on the conclusion of the shareholder agreement with BP. The decision is not accepted, but actively discussed”, – cited the opinion of the source of RBC.
Another source said that the stake to be privatised in 2016, can be divided into three parts and sold to three different investors from Asia with a condition not to enter into a shareholder agreement with BP and not to resell her paper “Rosneft”.
In the oil company denied the report, calling it “false” and “based on nothing the imagination of journalists or their so-called sources.” “The decision on the scheme of privatization of the company taken by the government of the Russian Federation. Our partnership with BP, the largest minority shareholder of the company, is a strategic, long-term and trustful. Both sides have repeatedly expressed satisfaction with the level of cooperation and effectiveness of its results,” – said in a statement on the matter.
Mikhail Leontyev called the article “a collection of some degenerate fantasy”. Representative BP in Russia Vladimir Buyanov said in turn that BP “comfortable” with the current shares in “Rosneft” (19,75%), and the company does not intend to increase it.
The state now owns 69.5% of Rosneft through a holding company Rosneftegaz, of which 19.5% are listed in the privatization plan for 2016, which was approved by President Vladimir Putin on 1 February. On 20 February the first Vice-Premier Igor Shuvalov signed a Directive on the preparation of privatization of “Rosneft”. On 8 April, the Minister of economic development Alexei Ulyukayev said that was signed and sent to Rosneftegaz terms of reference for the sale of shares of state-owned companies.