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Rosneft Boss Sechin Sues Leading Russian Business Paper

Published: August 16, 2014 (Issue # 1824)

  • Sechin, 53, has worked with Putin since the 1990s. He was deputy head of the presidential administration from 1999 until 2008, when he was appointed deputy prime minister.
    Photo: Yekaterina Kuzmina / Vedomosti

Igor Sechin, the head of state-run gas giant Rosneft and a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, is suing Russia's leading business newspaper Vedomosti for "wrongful interference in government activity," Forbes Russia reported Friday.

Sechin took offense to an editorial that examined the possible reasons for and benefits of his transitioning from the government to his top Rosneft job in 2012.

The editorial implied that Sechin is able to unlawfully influence state officials while enjoying de-facto independence at Rosneft, where he allegedly answers to no one except Putin, the report said, citing the lawsuit.

The suit was filed just days after the article by Vedomosti deputy editor Kirill Kharatyan was published in mid-June, but the main hearing will only kick off next Wednesday.

Sechin wants three passages deleted from the article, Forbes said. It remains unclear whether he also wants to receive any financial compensation.

Last month, Sechin successfully sued Forbes Russia and daily newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda for calling him Russia's highest-grossing CEO and estimating his 2013 salary at $50 million, with the court ordering the newspapers retract the statements. Forbes has said that it is planning to appeal the decision.

Sechin, 53, has worked with Putin since the 1990s. He was deputy head of the presidential administration from 1999 until 2008, when he was appointed deputy prime minister.

The alleged leader of a conservative and isolationist faction in the Kremlin, Sechin has been nicknamed "Darth Vader" and Russia's "grey cardinal" in the Western press. He was the only Russian on Time magazine's 2013 list of the world's most influential people.

Rosneft, a target of recent U.S. and EU sanctions against Russia over its policy in Ukraine, asked the government this week for 1.5 trillion rubles ($41.7 billion) to help with the $54-billion debt it acquired by purchasing TNK-BP in 2013, Vedomosti reported, citing unidentified sources.



Saturday, Nov. 1

The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.

Sunday, Nov. 2

Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.

Monday, Nov. 3

Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.

Tuesday, Nov. 4

Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.

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