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Oil report

Son of top Russian oil executive kidnapped -paper

MOSCOW, June 1 (Reuters) - The son of a senior executive at Russian state-run oil giant Rosneft ROSN.MM was kidnapped two months ago, a newspaper reported on Monday, citing security sources, who said kidnappers demanded a 50,000 euro ($71,160) ransom.

Rosneft declined to comment on Novaya Gazeta’s report that Mikhail Stavsky, the 19-year-old son of Rosneft’s vice-president, also named Mikhail Stavsky, was kidnapped at the doors of the Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas on April 13.

“They (the kidnappers) stuffed him in a car and fled in an unknown direction ... All information is being kept secret. Even Rosneft’s board members and managers don’t know about the grief that has befallen the Stavsky family,” the newspaper quoted one of the sources as saying.

Further details were not immediately available.

The kidnapping, if confirmed, would be the most high-profile in recent years, since the abduction of the chief financial officer of Russia's No.2 oil firm LUKOIL LKOH.MM, Sergei Kukura, in 2002.

The executive was released several days later, but the company and security services released very little information about the abductors and their motives.

That sparked a wave of speculation ranging from abduction by Chechen separatists to theories that the kidnapping was a warning to the fast-growing private firm to cool its ambitions.

Russian authorities say the number of serious crimes in Russia has steadily declined since the violent 1990s, when disputes between financial and industrial groups were often settled with machine guns and grenades on the streets and in restaurants and saunas.

But Western investors still cite security concerns alongside red tape and corruption as key obstacles to opening and expanding business in Russia.

Stavsky has worked at Rosneft since 2005, when he joined from Sibneft, billionaire Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich’s former Russian oil asset.

Rosneft is chaired by Igor Sechin, a long-time powerful ally of Russian Prime Minister and former President Vladimir Putin. (Reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov; editing by Rupert Winchester)

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