Russia’s state-owned Rosneft to buy out minority shareholders in oil firm TNK-BP
To seize? To attach a bomb? To install a tracking device so weapons can be aimed?” And finally: “The platform is a vessel, and getting on board without the captain’s permission may and in this case should be viewed as piracy.” Prirazlomnaya has been plagued with technical mishaps and the start of drilling has been delayed several times. Greenpeace insisted the rig was unsafe and attempted a second boarding on Sept. 19. This time they ran into stiffer resistance: Russian coast guards fired over their heads and towed the Arctic Sunrise to Murmansk, where the 30 people who had been on board were detained. On Sept. 26 and 27, a Murmansk court arrested them for two months on suspicion of piracy. Soon after the Russian authorities first indicated that piracy charges might be brought against the activists, President Vladimir Putin essentially repeated arguments from the anonymous comment. “Our border guards, our law enforcement agencies did not know who was trying to seize the rig posing as Greenpeace,” he said , adding: “It is perfectly obvious that they are not pirates.” Yet the court went ahead with the arrests. Putin has a history of publicly favoring clemency towards various detainees, such as members of the Russian opposition, without any effect on their actual treatment at the hands of the law enforcement authorities or courts. Asked to comment on this apparent disobedience, Putin is apt to shrug and point out that the courts and police do not formally report to him. The piracy charges are unprecedented and likely to be lifted, eventually.
Join the Nation’s Conversation To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs IOC: Russia won’t discriminate against gays in Sochi AP 1:26 p.m. EDT September 26, 2013 Jean-Claude Killy, chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission for Sochi 2014, speaks during a news conference in Sochi, Russia, Thursday. (Photo: Sergei Grits AP) Killy signs off on Russian preparations for Sochi Games He says IOC commission weighed gay rights issue carefully Olympic charter forbids discrimination of any kind SHARE 6 CONNECT 7 TWEET COMMENTEMAILMORE SOCHI, Russia (AP) The International Olympic Committee doesn’t have the authority to intervene in Russia’s law banning gay propaganda and is convinced there will be no discrimination against athletes or spectators at the Winter Games in Sochi, a top Olympic official said Thursday. Jean-Claude Killy, chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission, gave his stamp of approval of Russian preparations for the games during a news conference at the conclusion of the commission’s 10th and final visit to Sochi before the Olympics, which begin on Feb. 7. Russia has come under scrutiny as the next host of the Olympics because of the law passed this summer outlawing “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors,” which many worry may apply to gay athletes and visitors to the games. Killy said the commission considered the issue carefully and in the end was fully convinced that Russia will respect the Olympic charter, which prohibits discrimination of any kind. He said the IOC had received written assurances from Russian officials there would be no discrimination. “The Olympic Charter states that all segregation is completely prohibited, whether it be on the grounds of race, religion, color or other, on the Olympic territory,” he said in French. “That will be the case, we are convinced. Another thing I must add: the IOC doesn’t really have the right to discuss the laws in the country where the Olympic Games are organized. As long as the Olympic Charter is respected, we are satisfied, and that is the case.” Russian officials insist the law is designed to protect children and doesn’t infringe on the rights of gays. “Regarding this law, if people of traditional sexual orientation spread propaganda of non-traditional sex to children, then they will also be held accountable,” said Dmitry Kozak, a deputy prime minister in charge of overseeing preparations for the Sochi Olympics.
TNK-BP, Russia’s No. 3 oil company, was taken over by Rosneft last year. Since the deal, international minority investors holding around 5 percent in TNK-BP have been left in limbo and unable to find other buyers for their stakes. The value of the investors’ shares has halved since Rosneft agreed to buy the company from a group of Russian billionaires and British company BP. Foreign investors have been citing the case of the TNK-BP investors as an example of bad corporate governance in Russia. Speaking at an investment conference in Sochi on Friday, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev floated the idea of a buy-out, saying in televised remarks that it “would improve the investment climate in the case of this company.” Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, who was on stage one seat away from Medvedev, agreed with the suggestion, although he noted that Rosneft “had no legal obligations” to buy out the minority shareholders. It is not uncommon in Russia for top officials including President Vladimir Putin to make “suggestions” to state-controlled and private companies on key investment decisions. Rosneft’s board of directors convened later Friday and approved the buy-out, Sechin told Russian news agencies. He said earlier that the company would buy the shares at the 18-month average price. Rosneft previously approved plans to pull out billions of dollars from TNK-BP subsidiaries as loans and indicated that it would not be paying a dividend for the previous fiscal year to TNK-BP shareholders.