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Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigations (DBR) has taken control of all Tatneft assets in the country, along with any companies linked financially to Tatneft, DBR said in a statement to Telegram.
The total number of “real estate objects” that the DBR has seized is 115—so far--and includes oil depots, gas stations, and fuel trucks that combined, are valued at as much as $67 million.
Tatneft is Russia’s fifth-largest oil company, with operations in Ukraine.
The DBR will transfer the seized assets to the National Agency for Detection, Investigation, and Management of Assets Obtained through Corruption and Other Crimes.
The contentious relationship between Tatneft and Ukraine predates Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In February, prior to the invasion, a lawsuit between Russia’s Tatneft and Ukraine over a disagreement over shares in a Ukrainian oil refinery (Kremenchug) was already raging.
Tatneft originated the lawsuit, hoping to enforce a $173 million arbitration award from 2017. In February, Ukraine had asked a federal appeals court to pause the enforcement while it sought a bond that would stop the discovery process—a discovery process that, as of February 24, caused the U.S. Justice Department to consider participating in the lawsuit to protect the interests of the United States. In a DOJ filing, the United States argued that an overly broad document request could lead to the discovery of attachable property in the United States. Ukraine had also argued that any information Tatneft was to receive as part of the discovery process might be shared with the Russian government.
Ukraine’s claim was that Tatneft’s document probe—which included subpoenas for 52 banks—was merely a pretext for obtaining sensitive information while Russia was amassing troops along the Ukraine border.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.