BP could be sued for receiving stolen property if it buys the $9 billion stake in Rosneft that will be auctioned by the Kremlin tomorrow.

The 9.44 per cent stake in Rosneft is one of a number of assets that belongs to Yukos, the former Russian oil giant, being sold by the Russian authorities.

Yukos, which listed in London last year, raising $10.6 billion, was declared bankrupt after claims that it had failed to pay $30 billion in tax. Its assets are being sold to pay the bill.

However, GML, Yukos’s main shareholder, insists that the oil company was ruined for political reasons and that its assets are being stolen. GML is suing the Russian Federation for $50 billion and says that companies buying Yukos assets also could become targets for compensation.

Tim Osborne, director of GML said “We say that Yukos was stolen by the Russian Federation and anybody that buys its assets at auction are receiving stolen goods.”

If true, that accusation would round off Sir John’s career rather badly…