Russia has done a good job cementing its title as one of the world’s leading resource nationalists, having effectively expropriated and stolen the assets of dozens of companies, including Yukos, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, and probably ExxonMobil next at Sakhalin.
But when it happens in Africa to a Russian company owned by a Kremlin-friendly businessman, the government is up in arms in protest and threats. I can sympathize with them given my international law practice area … now that would be an interesting call to take.
“Guinean authorities have attempted to expropriate Rusal’s property,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its Web site today, adding it hopes Guinea “realizes the possible consequences of such actions both for the overall climate of traditionally constructive Russian-Guinean relations and for the socio-economic situation in their own country.”
The government sent Rusal a letter asking it to return the Friguia development, Mines Minister Mahmoud Thiam said in an interview yesterday. Camara said in April he had asked the justice ministry to consider legal action over Rusal’s deal. Guinea was paid $19 million for the assets by Rusal, while consultants had valued them at $257 million, he said.