Russian energy giant Rosneft has presented the news agency RBC with a lawsuit. According to a statement posted on the oil company’s website, Rosneft is taking RBC to court for its report claiming that a private security company in Ryazan acquired a stake in Rosneft’s former Venezuelan project.
Rosneft claims that RBC’s article “provoked a wave of disinformation in the print and electronic media.” Moreover, “the source materials referenced in RBC’s publication contains” information about the Russian state becoming the owner of Rosneft’s Venezuelan assets, the statement says (rather than the company in Ryazan).
Rosneft claims that RBC’s editorial office refused to refute “its provocative information” and apologize for publicly disseminating it. Meanwhile, RBC issued a statement saying that it has yet to receive a lawsuit from Rosneft and cannot comment on it from a legal point of view.
RBC also underscored that it is convinced of the reliability and objectivity of the information it published, which was based solely on official data. The publication is prepared to defend its position.
The report in question, published on May 14, revealed a transfer scheme that allowed Rosneft to pass its Venezuelan assets to the Russian state-controlled oil company “Zarubezhneft,” through the private security company “RN-Okhrana-Ryazan.” A note from Interfax served as the basis of the report.
RBC has since changed the title of its report, to reflect the fact that a Russian state-owned company acquired the Venezuelan assets through “RN-Okhrana-Ryazan.” The previous title (still available via web archives), stated that the private security company had acquired a stake in Rosneft’s Venezuelan project itself.
Rosneft and its CEO Igor Sechin have repeatedly sued Russian media outlets over the years. In 2016, Rosneft demanded that RBC refute one of its publications about the oil company and pay it three billion rubles ($47.4 million at the time) in compensation. The court only agreed to its request for a refutation. Rosneft unsuccessfully attempted to sue the business outlet Kommersant in 2017. Sechin has personally won lawsuits against the outlets Vedomosti and Novaya Gazeta.