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Russians claim $170 billion from oil group Total

Reuters: UPDATE 1-Russian regions claim $170 bln from Total-paper

Thu Apr 10, 2008 3:21am

(Adds response from Total CEO)

PARIS, April 10 (Reuters) – Russian regions are claiming up to $170 billion from oil group Total (TOTF.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) in a legal case going back to the tumultous expansion at Elf Aquitaine, now part of Total, the Le Figaro newspaper said on Thursday.

The newspaper said a legal probe had been opened to study complaints by Volgorad and Saratov, filed in 2006.

The two regions alleged they did not get enough profits from a revenue-sharing contract dating back to a 1990 deal between former French president Francois Mitterrand and Russia’s Boris Yeltsin.

The paper quoted a lawyer for Total as saying there were no grounds for a dispute between the regions and the company.

Speaking on the sidelines of an oil industry summit in Paris, Total Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie said he was not aware of the matter.

“Ridicule never did anyone any real harm. I am not aware of anything,” he told reporters.

(Reporting by Marcel Michelson and Marie Maitre; Editing by Andrerw Hurst)

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