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Siberian Court Orders BP To Pay $3.1 Billion

An arbitration court in Siberia has ruled that British oil giant BP should pay $3.1 billion in compensation to its Russian joint venture partner TNK-BP over the British company's attempt to form an alliance with rival Russian state-controlled oil company Rosneft.

The verdict comes in response to a lawsuit launched last year by Andrei Prokhorov, an obscure minority shareholder of TNK-BP.

Prokhorov said TNK-BP Holding lost potential profits by being shut out of the $16 billion share-swap and joint Arctic exploration venture.

The multibillion-dollar Arctic deal between BP and Rosneft collapsed last year after Russian TNK-BP shareholders contested it.

BP's spokesman says it considers the ruling of the Tyumen Region Arbitration Court unfair and will appeal it.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP