Several Russian energy companies have won a battle against an unusual enemy: their UK-based “clones.”
The oil and gas companies Transneft, Tatneft, Lukoil, and Surgutneft have convinced British authorities to annul the clones’ registration, according to documents published by the British Supreme Court and the state business registry.
The Gazprom Neft oil company also had its clone annulled, a company representative told the Vedomosti newspaper.
The British clones were all fake corporations — formally registered under the names of the Russian companies’ top executives, but with no relation to the real firms. Legal experts suspect they were established as part of a scam to sign contracts and receive monetary advances from gullible business partners.
Last year, the RBC business daily discovered seven clones of Russian energy companies registered in Britain. All were established between March and June 2016 and, on paper, were indistinguishable from legitimate subsidiaries of the companies.
Following the RBC report, at least five of the Russian companies took action. They got their clones liquidated by different means: appealing to Companies House, Britain’s state registry of businesses or involving Interpol and going to court.