Russia-BP worker detained as spy
Mar 21,2008 00:00 by UPI

MOSCOW - Russia has detained an employee of TNK-BP, a joint oil venture with BP, on a spying charge, the Financial Times reported Friday.

Observers told the Financial Times News there had been signs Russia was tightening its hold on the energy sector and that TNK-BP was speculated to be its next goal for takeover.

TNK-BP is half owned by BP and half by a trio of Russian billionaires.

Actually, two men were detained on industrial espionage charges, brothers Ilya and Alexander Zaslasvsky, both with U.S. and Russian citizenships. Ilya is a TNK-BP employee and his brother heads the British Alumni Club.

TNK-BP said in a statement that it didn't condone illegal activities.

Some see the detention of the Zaslasvsky brothers as another barb in Russian-British relations, with several rows breaking out since the poisoning death of Alexander Litvinenko in 2006, the Financial Times said.

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