Putin hopes tycoons reinvest TNK-BP cash in Russia

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 20, 2012 5:11 AM

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said he hopes the tycoons selling out of TNK-BP will reinvest the proceeds from Russia's largest ever takeover deal back into the country, but he would not force them to do so.

Rosneft this month finalized a deal to buy half of the Anglo-Russian oil firm for $28 billion from AAR, a consortium of four billionaires - Mikhail Fridman, German Khan, Viktor Vekselberg and Len Blavatnik.

"I hope that they will invest the proceeds in the Russian economy," Putin said in answer to a question at a news conference broadcast live to the nation on Thursday.

"If they are the legitimate owners, receiving this money legally, they can invest it where they want," he added.

The quartet will receive cash on completion of the deal, which should win a green light from Russian and European regulators in the first half of 2013.

British oil firm BP is also selling its one-half stake in TNK-BP to Rosneft, the state-controlled oil major, for $27 billion in cash and stock, valuing the entire takeover at $55 billion.

The transaction could add to chronic capital outflows from Russia, an issue that Putin highlighted in his annual state-of-the-nation address last week.

In his speech, Putin called for the "de-offshorization" of Russian business and said officials and their relatives should be banned from opening foreign bank accounts and owning securities abroad.

(Reporting by Megan Davies; Editing by Douglas Busvine)