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Dow Jones Newswires: Russia’s Mitvol Denies Claiming Shell Tried To Bribe Him -2-

A Shell spokeswoman said that the company “refutes the claim made by the newspaper that Shell or its representatives attempted to bribe Russian government officials in the course of inspections of the Sakhalin-2 project.”

“This statement is completely groundless,” she added.

The newspaper -which as a rule concentrates more on celebrity and human interest stories -said on its Web site that it stood by its story and congratulated Mitvol on being a rare example of a Russian official capable of resisting foreign bribes. It did not appear to have asked Shell to comment on the allegation.

To substantiate its version of the conversation, the paper posted a recording of the conversation between Mitvol and its reporter on its Web site.

The conversation begins with Mitvol joking that he doesn’t have enough money with which to further his wife Lyudmila’s career as a pop-singer by paying radio stations to give her airtime.

“If we had agreed with Shell over Sakhalin that time, then we could probably have turned the international charts on their heads, too,” the voice jokes.

Asked how much ‘they’ offered, the voice responds “fifty”, without specifying further. ‘Tvoy Den’ interpreted this as meaning $50 million.

The voice goes on to claim that the same people offered the head of the Ministry’s press service, Rinat Gizatulin, a job at a monthly salary of $30,000, with the rights to manage an annual budget of over $1 million, but that he refused.

Newspaper Web site: http://www.tden.ru

Ministry Web site: http://www.mnr.gov.ru

-By Geoffrey T. Smith, Dow Jones Newswires (+7 495) 974 8055; [email protected]

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

http://www.lloyds.com/CmsPhoenix/DowJonesArticle.aspx?id=363969

August 09, 2007 13:23 ET (17:23 GMT)

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