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Five Russian oil companies have won appeals and lawsuits in the UK to have their fraudulent and unconnected ‘doppelgangers’ that were registered last year removed from the UK Companies House, according to court rulings.
Transneft, Tatneft, Lukoil and Surgutneftegas have won the right to have companies of the same names with ‘Ltd’ at the end erased from the Companies House, Russian daily Vedomosti reported on Thursday, quoting rulings of the UK Supreme Court and the Companies House database. Gazprom Neft has also won the case to have its ‘clone’ in the UK registry erased, a Gazprom Neft representative told Vedomosti.
The companies registered in the UK were fake and did not have any connection with the Russian companies, despite the fraudulent scheme to be registered as managed by the same persons that are the top managers of the real companies. Legal experts believe that the purpose of the fake companies’ registration may have been to try to swindle potential credulous clients to sign deals and pay upfront payments.
In October last year, Russian news outlet RBC reported that there were at least seven such companies registered between March and July 2016 in the UK. The companies were all very similar to the real Russian firms. The company names registered in Britain were Rosneft Oil Company Ltd, PJSC Tatneft Ltd, JSC Transneft Ltd, Oil Company LUKOIL Ltd, Surgutneftegas Ltd, PJSOC Bashneft Ltd, and Public Joint Stock Company Gazprom Neft Ltd.
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Back then Tatneft, Transneft and Surgutneftegas all warned the public in statements that the companies registered in the UK were fake and did not have any relation to the Russian firms. Transneft suspected the purpose of its ‘clone’ in the UK was to perpetrate fraud.
Since then, the Russian companies have taken legal actions to protect their name copyrights, identification and reputation, and have had their fraudulent ‘doubles’ removed, using different legal actions such as appealing to the Companies House, to the UK registry of businesses, going to court, and notifying Interpol.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.