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No proposals on Bashneft oil company nationalization — energy minister

September 30, 2014, 13:51 UTC+3
On Friday the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office confirmed filing a lawsuit to return Bashneft’s property to the state
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Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak

© ITAR-TASS/Anton Novoderezhkin

ATURAU /Kazakhstan/, September 30. /ITAR-TASS/. The fate of the embattled oil company Bashneft, a prize asset of Sistema holding company whose owner Vladimir Yevtushenkov is accused of money laundering, still remains unclear.

Law-enforcement agencies insist on transferring the oil company to state ownership.

The leadership of the Urals Republic of Bashkortostan where the republic’s entire fuel and energy sector served as the basis for creating this vertically-integrated oil firm, fully supports the idea of Bashneft’s de-privatization.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Tuesday he has not heard about any ideas or proposals to nationalize Bashneft’s assets.

“Are there such ideas? I have not heard about such ideas and I have not received any letters or even oral instructions on this score,” Novak told journalists.

Meanwhile, Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said on Friday he couldn’t understand plans to return Bashneft to state ownership.

“I don’t understand this decision,” the minister told journalists.

Russia’s economic development minister made this statement after the Prosecutor General’s Office confirmed filing a lawsuit to return Bashneft’s property to the state.

According to Marina Gridneva, the Prosecutor General’s Office spokesperson, prosecutors revealed that enterprises of Bashkortostan’s fuel and energy sector had been alienated with serious violations of Russian laws. The Moscow Arbitration Court is expected to consider the lawsuit on October 9.

Bashkortostan head Rustem Khamitov has voiced his full support for the prosecutors’ intention to restore state ownership of Bashkortostan’s fuel and energy enterprises, stressing that Bashneft’s privatization had been “extremely non-transparent.”

Bashneft privatization

Bashneft, one of Russia’s largest producers of oil products which used to be called BashTek, was privatized in the 1990s. This enterprise, which used to be controlled by Bashkortostan until the late 1990s, had aroused many questions from the authorities.

The Russian Audit Chamber exposed a case of unprecedented plundering of assets of federal property during an audit in 2003.

Sistema was a core shareholder of Bashneft as of May 14, 2014 with a 63% stake.

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