Norex is invited to testify in French litigation.
According to the letter received by Norex, the claim is a result of the article written by Ms. Royo and published by Les Echos on February 7, 2003 describing the "Prestige" oil spill disaster which polluted Spanish and French coasts in 2002. The owner of the spilled oil was Alfa Group's member company Crown Resources AG. "On this occasion, - Ms. Royo writes, - "I reminded our readers of the strong suspicions about the Alfa Group being responsible for money laundering, tax evasion, assets stripping and stealing oil fields. I told Norex story when Yugraneft, its subsidiary, was seized by TNK, the oil company which belongs to Alfa and Access/Renova".
In February, 2002, Norex Petroleum Limited, a Canadian based investor whose control over Yugraneft Corporation, an oil company in Russia, was illegally seized at gun point brought claims against Access/Renova, Alfa/Crown and TNK Group (collectively "Defendants"), under the RICO statute in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. The RICO complaint against Defendants and their officers is for harm suffered by the illegal seizure of its control over Yugraneft as part of an overreaching illegal scheme to obtain dominance over the Russian petroleum industry. Norex claims that the Defendants' illegal scheme was perpetrated through acts of mail and wire fraud, extortion, money laundering, illegal monetary transactions, Travel Act violations, bribery, fraud, use of armed force, and physical threats.
On July 2, 2003 Norex partially disclosed evidence in support of its RICO complaint against the Defendants, including proof of its profit diversion, money laundering, and tax evasion claims, clearly demonstrating how the Defendants used New York as the base to organize and manage their world wide criminal activities. Norex identifies and exhibits more than 100 documents in support of its allegations from various U.S. government agencies, including the Department of State, Department of Treasury, Department of Commerce, and Export-Import Bank, as well as some documents obtained from various sources in the course of its due diligence. (declaration of Philip Murray).
Norex also served its Amended and Restated Disclosures naming more than 40 witnesses related to Defendants and more than 150 third parties witnesses; it also identified over 100 related legal entities in numerous jurisdictions around the world as well as banks and outside advisers, including Pricewaterhouse Coopers, who are believed to have relevant documents.
The witnesses include current and former officers of various companies including BP, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, various American investors harmed by Defendants, employees of a myriad of offshore Slush Fund Companies in the BVI, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Liechtenstein, and Luxembourg, and various Crown Group companies (allegedly merged into ERC Trading Limited soon after the "Prestige" disaster.)
Norex also filed expert legal reports, describing the inadequacy and corruption of the Russian Legal system. In addition, Norex filed a Crude Oil Trading Expert report (declaration of Helmar Shank) and relevant documentary evidence of oil price manipulations by TNK and the Crown Group companies and their involvement in tax fraud and money laundering in numerous jurisdictions.
Norex's July 2 filings are available at http://www.norexpetroleum.com/. A subpoena approved by the New York court had earlier been served on BP in March 2003 requiring BP to preserve all documents and information relevant to defendants.
As a separate matter Norex's expert legal reports were recently referenced in the High Court of the British Virgin Islands by the plaintiffs Astian and Indian Ocean, who brought claims against the Defendant's related entities in the BVI alleging damages suffered as a result of the transfer pricing practice by Sidanco and its subsidiaries, controlled by Defendants and BP.
Norex has also retained the local legal counsel of Smith-Hughes, Raworth & McKenzie in the BVI to follow the action very closely and to assist as required.
CONTACT: Phil Murray, President, Norex, (403) 531-4500