July 8, 2009 / 12:06 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 2-Detectives search oil firm Sibir's Moscow offices

* Sibir’s Moscow Refinery says also searched by police

* Sibir says searches relate to subsidiary

(Updates with Sibir Energy statement)

MOSCOW, July 8 (Reuters) - Russian law enforcement agencies on Wednesday searched the offices of a firm belonging to Sibir Energy SBE.L and an oil refinery run jointly by Sibir and its largest single shareholder, Gazprom Neft (SIBN.MM).

Sibir said in a statement Interior Ministry investigators had entered the offices of the Magma oil company, a subsidiary of Sibir Energy, and were searching documents related to the commercial activities of Moscow Oil and Gas Company in 2006 and Moscow Oil Company in 2002 and 2003.

“There are no investigations being conducted in relation either to Sibir Energy or Magma,” Sibir said in a statement.

Moscow Oil and Gas Company is listed on Sibir Energy’s website, www.sibirenergy.com, as a 100 percent subsidiary of Sibir.

Interfax news agency reported searches at Sibir’s Moscow offices were currently under way, quoting the deputy press secretary for the Interior Ministry’s department of economic crime, Albert Istomin.

Moscow Refinery said detectives from the Moscow police had conducted searches at the plant for documents related to certain commercial organisations’ activities in 2006. It posted a statement on its website, www.mnpz.ru.

Sibir, part-owned by the Moscow city government, shares control of the refinery with Gazprom Neft. Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom (GAZP.MM), became the main shareholder in Sibir last month after buying out minority shareholders and accumulating the stakes of some former top shareholders.

A spokesman for Gazprom Neft declined to comment.

Sibir is suing its former main shareholder, Russian businessman Shalva Chigirinsky, for at least $325 million for a failed bid to sell his real estate assets to the company [ID:nL7380603]. Chigirinsky fled Russia this year.

Russian state-run bank VTB (VTBR.MM) has also filed a lawsuit in London seeking $100 million from Chigirinsky’s developer, Russian Land [ID:nL7381211]. (Editing by Elaine Hardcastle) (Reporting by Katya Golubkova and Dmitry Zhdannikov, + 7 495 775 12 42, dmitri.zhdannikov@reuters.com)

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