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Blavatnik, Vekselberg Must face $2 Billion Oil Proceeds suit

LEN-BLAVATNIK Viktor-Vekselberg  leonid_lebedev COURT


The Supreme Court of the State of New York has rejected the efforts of Billionaires Leonard (Len) Blavatnik and Viktor Vekselberg to stop a lawsuit by Russian businessman Leonid Lebedev who says they owe him more than $2 billion from the sale of an oil and gas producer.

On December 2, the court denied a motion filed by Messrs. Blavatnik and Vekselberg in which the defendants tried to persuade the court to dismiss Mr. Lebedev’s lawsuit.

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Russian billionaires Leonard Blavatnik and Viktor Vekselberg shared a $55 billion windfall with BP in February of 2013, in the third largest oil deal in history when their joint venture TNK-BP was sold to Russian state owned oil company giant Rosneft.
A third local oligarch, Leonid Lebedev, has filed a claim in New York Court alleging he was a third secret partner with the two oligarchs all along, and demanding $2 billion in damages.

Blavatnik and Vekselberg asked State Supreme Court to throw out the suit, claiming that any agreement was only a draft and that state law bars the oral contract Lebedev alleges he made with them unless it could have been performed within a year. Under the deal, Lebedev would have received payments for an indefinite period, the defendants said.

Court on Wednesday denied the billionaires’ request ruling it was “entirely possible that the contract could be fully performed and terminated within one year.” Judge Saliann Scarpulla granted their motion to dismiss a fraud claim and threw out an allegation that the two breached their fiduciary duty by failing to honor a promise to hold the shares of the company in a separate entity, Bloomberg reports.

The court also ordered the parties to return to court on January 13 for a preliminary conference, where a schedule for the remaining steps of the litigation will be issued.  Michael Miller, a partner in Steptoe & Johnson LLP’s New York office, leads the representation of Mr. Lebedev in this matter, assisted by Tom Dewey of Dewey Pegno & Kramarsky, and Andrew Hayes.

In his lawsuit, Mr. Lebedev seeks to enforce his contractual rights to receive $2 billion of the proceeds from TNK-BP’s 2013 sale to Rosneft of oil and gas assets in Russia.  Mr. Lebedev alleges that Messrs. Blavatnik and Vekselberg received his share of the sale’s proceeds and failed to pay that sum to Mr. Lebedev.

Mr. Miller commented:  “We are pleased with the court’s decision.  It means that Mr. Lebedev is now one important step closer to vindicating his rights against Messrs. Blavatnik and Vekselberg.”

 READ MORE: Len Blavatnik & Viktor Vekselberg

LEN-BLAVATNIK Viktor-Vekselberg  leonid_lebedev COURT

It was only a matter of time. Russian billionaires Leonard Blavatnik and Viktor Vekselberg shared a $55 billion windfall with BP in February of 2013, in the third largest oil deal in history when their joint More…




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