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Daily Telegraph: Russia refuses to silence Shell foe

By Russell Hotten
Last Updated: 12:32am GMT 15/12/2006

The natural resources minister in Russia has rejected a call to reprimand outspoken environmental regulator Oleg Mitvol, who has led a campaign against Royal Dutch Shell and other Western energy companies.

Sergei Sai, the head of state environment watchdog Rosprirodnadzor, had asked natural resources minister Yuri Trutnev, who oversees his agency, to review Mitvol’s work, citing “inefficiencies”. Trutnev rejected the appeal.

Rinat Gizatulin, spokesman for Mr Trutnev, said: “He said the effectiveness of Mitvol is higher than that of the Rosprirodnadzor leadership and advised Sai to do something about it.”

Mr Mitvol said he would fight any decision against him by the ministry. “I will protect my rights – including through the courts,” he said.

Mr Mitvol’s probes have included London-listed Peter Hambro Mining, Russia third-largest gold producer.

Mr Mitvol had threatened to revoke Peter Hambro’s operating licences. But after a meeting yesterday between Mr Mitvol and executive chairman Peter Hambro, most of the issues appeared to have been resolved, sending shares soaring 12pc to £12.73.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2006/12/15/cnhambro15.xml

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