Robert Amsterdam is quoted in today’s Guardian coverage of TNK-BP:
Bob Amsterdam, a lawyer who specialises in Russia, says the dispute is a ‘very regressive step’ for Russia. ‘I don’t know how many conferences on corporate governance have to be held in Russia before people realise this idea of a rule of law is a myth.’ Browne knew, of course, that going into Russia was far from risk-free. For oil companies operating in such places as the Middle East and Africa, risk is an occupational hazard. And, in many ways, the deal has been a huge success: in 2004, the year after the venture was formed, TNK-BP generated income of almost $5bn, going a long way to paying off BP’s original outlay. Amsterdam claims that BP has also profited from other instances of ‘corporate raiding’, so cannot claim to be blameless. In 2006, it took a $1bn stake in Russian oil firm Rosneft after it inherited the lucrative assets of Yukos, which was destroyed by a state-orchestrated tax evasion campaign. Neither side looks ready to back down or talk about compromise. Both insist that the day-to-day operations of TNK-BP are not affected but if the dispute goes on much longer, this is unlikely to remain the case.