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NEW YORK -- OAO Lukoil Holdings is fighting back in court against allegations that it tried to unload a stripped-down Getty Petroleum Marketing Inc. (GPMI) before it was forced to declare bankruptcy. According to Dow Jones, the Russian oil company denies that it spent $25 million to strip out profitable gas stations and rid itself of GPMI.
GPMI declared bankruptcy in December. Since then, unpaid rent bills to Getty Realty Corp., owner of 799 gas stations and convenience stores that GPMI leased, have gone unpaid.
As CSNews reported, Getty Realty has financed legal fees in the lawsuit against Lukoil in an effort to recover unpaid rent. Since a bankruptcy judge has sealed the complaint against Lukoil, it's difficult to know the exact allegations being put forth against the oil company. However, it is believed that one allegation is that Lukoil put up approximately $25 million when it sold GPMI to a firm named Cambridge Securities LLC in an attempt to dump an insolvent company.
Instead, Lukoil contends that the $25 million in question went directly to GPMI and not the pockets of Cambridge Securities, the news outlet reported. Hence, Lukoil claims it was attempting restructure and better GPMI, not rid itself of stripped-down remnants of the company. Furthermore, Lukoil placed blame on Getty Realty and supplier Bionol Clearfield LLC for several of GPMI's failings, reported the news source.
Bjorn Q. Aaserod, a Cambridge executive who later became GPMI's CEO, stated in bankruptcy court that GPMI was piecing together personal documents related to Lukoil's dealings with GPMI c-stores and gas stations. He added that regular corporate documents related to such dealings were destroyed before he took over as GPMI's CEO.
Despite Lukoil's best efforts, the oil giant was unable to get the lawsuit thrown out at a pretrial hearing.
It is unknown what Cambridge paid Lukoil for GPMI.