Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin accused opposition blogger and company minority shareholder Alexei Navalny on Wednesday of working for Hermitage Capital investment fund.
“Mr. Navalny has the right to defend his interests. Another thing is whether these interests coincide with the shareholders’ interests. According to some data, he is a lawyer hired by Hermitage Capital and acts on orders from companies, which have chosen this way to get information about their rivals,” daily Izvestia quoted Sechin as saying at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in St. Petersburg.
Navalny commented on Sechin’s words in his Twit account: “Let someone tell Sechin that I previously knew him simply as a swindler but now I have found out that he is also an imbecile.”
Anti-corruption blogger Navalny has sought in the past few years to obtain documents through court decisions from a whole number of state-run companies. As a Rosneft minority shareholder, Navalny sought to get the company’s minutes of board meetings for 2009, and also copies of agreements on crude oil supplies to China.
Hermitage Capital investment fund, whose lawyer Sergei Magnitsky died in Moscow’s infamous Matrosskaya Tishina pretrial detention center in November 2009, a year after he was arrested on tax evasion charges, was a minority shareholder in some Russian companies, including Rosneft.
Russian investigators have accused the fund of tax evasion, charging the fund’s subsidiaries with the illegal purchase of the shares of Rosneft and other firms. In response, Hermitage Capital accused Russia’s Interior Ministry of a raider seizure of its subsidiaries.