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Statoil boss cancels Putin conference

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Statoil boss cancels Putin conference
Helge Lund presenting Statoil's first quarter results on Tuesday. Photo: Lise Åserud/NTB scanpix
22:25 CEST+02:00
Statoil's chief executive Helge Lund has cancelled a planned visit to a Russian investment conference headlined by President Vladimir Putin after the US asked business heads not to attend.
"Statoil confirms CEO Helge Lund will not attend the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum next week. Statoil's delegation at the summit will be led by Executive Vice President Tim Dodson," Knut Rostad, a company spokesman, told Norway's Dagens Næringsliv newspaper.  
The US government at the end of this month began pressing business leaders to stay away from the conference, which has long been Russia's most important investment event. 
"The understanding is that those that choose to go will be on the Obama administration’s dog list,” a participant of a closed meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce’s in Moscow told the New York Times. 
Alcoa, Pepsico, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley have all confirmed that their chief executives will no longer be attending the conference, all though all have been replaced by senior figures. 
According to the Russian business paper Kommersant, the total number of foreigners attending the forum has sunk by 40 percent compared with last year's figures. 
However, Jon Fredrik Baksaas, the chief executive of Norwegian phone giant Telenor, will still be attending the conference, reflecting the company's 35.7 percent stake in Russian mobile phone company Vimpelcom and its major investments throughout the former Soviet Union. 
While Statoil is working with Russian state energy giant Rosneft to develop the country's hugely prospective Arctic shelf, unlike Telenor it also has a large position in the US.
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