Ex-RusAl Exec Goes to Russneft

Russneft, the oil producer Oleg Deripaska is seeking to acquire, has appointed a former official from the billionaire's aluminum producer as vice president.

Alexei Nikonov was named vice president for corporate relations in December, according to a statement on the Russneft web site. Nikonov joined Russian Aluminum, which became United Company RusAl last year, in May 2000 and oversaw corporate relations for RusAl-Managing Co. until leaving in 2007.

The announcement about Nikonov's appointment came after two former deputy heads of gas trader Itera were also named vice presidents at Russneft, Interfax reported Friday.

Deripaska's Basic Element holding company applied in July for the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service's permission to buy Russneft after the oil company's founder and former chief executive, Mikhail Gutseriyev, fled Russia amid a criminal investigation into him and his company.

A Moscow court on Monday upheld the seizure of 100 percent of Russneft shares, a court spokeswoman said, Interfax reported. "The Moscow City Court turned down an appeal in the case," said Anna Usachyova, the head of the court press service.

Russneft's shares were frozen in September as part of an investigation into Gutseriyev on fraud and tax-evasion charges. Gutseriyev has denied the charges.

Bloomberg, MT