Shares in oligarch Vladimir Yevtushenkov’s Sistema conglomerate surged after a Moscow court declined to hear a Rbs106.6bn ($1.85bn) lawsuit against it by state-run oil giant Rosneft.
Trading on the Moscow exchange saw Sistema shares strengthen by more than 10 per cent on Wednesday afternoon after the court’s decision, just a week after news of the lawsuit sent them tumbling more than 32 per cent. The court did not publish a reason for its move, which allows for Rosneft to file an amended lawsuit again.
The lawsuit, which accused Sistema of stripping assets during its ownership of the oil company Bashneft, opened fresh wounds in a long-running battle between Mr Yevtushenkov and Igor Sechin, Rosneft’s powerful chief executive. Mr Yevtushenkov was placed under house arrest for six months in 2014 and surrendered Bashneft to the government as part of criminal proceedings that were later dismissed.
The case was widely seen in Moscow as a power play by Mr Sechin – which Rosneft has long denied. Mr Sechin scored a coup last year by securing the rights to acquire Bashneft for Rbs330bn despite the public objections of several senior government officials.
“In our opinion, the court’s decision is in complete accord with the position the company has previously stated regarding this dispute,” Sistema said in a statement to Interfax.
Rosneft, the world’s largest listed oil producer, said it had also filed a lawsuit against Sistema in Ufa, the capital of Bashkortostan, the central Russian province where Bashneft is headquartered.
“This is a matter of jurisdiction. It is not important for us in which court the claim will be considered, therefore we filed a lawsuit in both jurisdictions – we wanted to give the courts the opportunity to determine the jurisdiction,” spokesman Mikhail Leontiev said in a statement.