The Moscow office of BP, Europe's second-largest oil company, was raided by police officers armed with assault rifles on Wednesday, the latest in a long series of events that highlights the British oil giant's struggles in Russia, one of the company's most important markets.
While BP is still involved with legal wranglings with the oligarch investors that own half of TNK-BP, BP's joint Russian venture, the raid was reportedly related to a case BP has pending in a Siberian court. Police wore commando-style uniforms with yellow shoulder patches saying ''Special Forces,'' and carried assault rifles, the New York Times reported.
BP (BP) has seen its Moscow office raided several times over the past few years and the raids are not uncommon for other Western companies that have offices in Moscow. German and Norwegian companies have seen their Moscow offices raided by police in recent years.
The search was authorized by the Siberian court hearing the case between TNK-BP and BP. That case stems from BP's failed effort to team with OAO Rosneft, Russia's largest oil company, on a major Arctic exploration partnership.