MOSCOW – Russian police have arrested a government relations manager at British-Russian oil venture TNK-BP on suspicion of fraud.
The Interior Ministry said Friday in a statement that the executive is suspected of defrauding two businessmen by promising them high-ranking posts in government.
The manager, identified by TNK-BP as Igor Korneyev, is suspected of receiving 3 million rubles (about $100,000) as an advance payment for arranging jobs in the Russian presidential administration.
Korneyev, who is said to have negotiated a total package worth $3 million, was caught red-handed when receiving the advance payment, police said.
TNK-BP, Russia's third-largest oil producer, is owned by BP and a consortium of Russian billionaires on a 50-50 basis. BP in June said it intends to sell its stake in the company, and state-owned Rosneft is the likeliest buyer. A deal could be announced as early as Friday.
BP released a brief statement confirming the end of the 90-day period that BP's partners had to negotiate to buy out the British company. The passing of that deadline frees BP to entertain other offers.
TNK-BP had no immediate comment.
The Moscow-based company said in an emailed comment that Korneyev's arrest is "not related to his work in TNK-BP."
The company said Korneyev has worked at the company for a mere three months and was not "directly involved in TNK-BP activities."
Korneyev previously worked as a deputy prime minister in the Irkutsk region in eastern Siberia.