MarketWatch First Take: BP stake in Russian oil giant Rosneft is ‘blood money,’ says adviser to Ukraine’s President Zelensky

by | Dec 5, 2022 | Stock Market

An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has slammed BP’s stake in Russian energy giant Rosneft as “blood money.” In a letter to BP
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Chief Executive Bernard Looney, Oleg Ustenko said that BP is entitled to hundreds of millions of dollars through its stake in Rosneft, the BBC reports.

On Feb. 27, just three days after Russia launched its devastating invasion of Ukraine, BP announced that it would exit its 19.75% stake in Rosneft. But with BP still working to complete its exit from Russia, the Rosneft stake is firmly in the spotlight. In his letter, Ustenko slammed BP over Rosneft’s recently announced plans to pay a nine-month dividend of 216 billion rubles (equivalent to $3.6 billion), which Reuters notes is the first such dividend in Rosneft’s history. The dividend could net BP $706.2 million, according to Global Witness, a nonprofit environmental and human rights organization. Also read: Despite plenty of talk, many U.S. companies have still not fully exited Russia: Moral Rating Agency “This is blood money, pure and simple, inflated profits made from the murder of Ukrainian civilians,” Ustenko wrote in the letter, which was seen by the BBC. Ustenko also urged Looney to lay out a plan to ensure that BP does not profit from the war, according to the BBC. Ustenko also tweeted about BP and Rosneft last week, writing: “Nine months ago, BP clearly stated its intentions to withdraw from Russia. However, after more than nine months of Russian aggression, war crimes and bombing of civilian infrastructure … Ukraine’s position is clear — companies must leave Russia, otherwise they risk becoming complicit in Russia’s war crimes.”

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