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Exclusive: London court orders asset freeze for Russia's Antipinsky oil refinery - document

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By Natalia Chumakova and Tatiana Voronova

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A London court has issued a worldwide order to freeze 225 million euros (194 million pounds) in assets belonging to Russia’s Antipinsky oil refinery, according to a copy of the order seen by Reuters.

The court order was issued by the Commercial Court of the High Court of Justice on April 30 in response to a lawsuit by Russia’s VTB Commodities Trading, the document shows.

The New Stream Group, which owns the refinery, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The group has previously referred questions to the refinery’s major creditor, Russian lender Sberbank. Sberbank declined to comment.

A VTB representative also declined to comment.

The Antipinsky refinery, which has a capacity of 9 million tonnes per year, has halted operations on several occasions in recent months because of a lack of money to pay for crude oil deliveries, according to industry sources.

The refinery last month announced plans to declare bankruptcy despite receiving more than 30 billion roubles ($460 million) in funding from state-owned Sberbank since October.

The court order applies to the refinery’s equipment and property in Russia’s Siberian region of Tyumen, as well as petroleum products stored there and at one of its tankers in the northern port of Murmansk, among other assets.

The order also forbids the refinery from selling vacuum gas oil (VGO) to other companies without the consent of VTB Commodities Trading.

The order said the case would be heard on May 15.

VTB Commodities Trading has filed two other lawsuits this month against the Antipinsky oil refinery at the Murmansk region’s arbitration court, according to a national database of cases.

(Reporting by Tatiana Voronova and Natalia Chumakova; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Edmund Blair)

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