RAPSI | 23 November 2016
French court unfreezes assets of three Russian enterprises over Yukos case
The Court of Appeal in Paris ruled on Wednesday to lift a freeze on assets of Russian Satellite Communications Company, Goszagransobstvennost, and RIA Novosti news agency, Andrey Kondakov, the General Director of the International Centre for Legal Aid, told RAPSI.
“Sizable amount of money, around €400 million should be unfrozen today,” Kondakov said. He added, that part of Russian assets remains blocked.
An application for the freezing order was filed by former shareholders in now-defunct Russian oil company Yukos after they were awarded $50 billion in July 2014.
Permanent Court of Arbitration tribunal in The Hague announced that it had issued awards in three cases against Russia. The tribunal ordered that Russia pay Yukos Universal Limited (Isle of Man) over $1.8 billion in damages. Hulley Enterprises Limited (Cyprus) was awarded about $40 billion, and Veteran Petroleum Limited (Cyprus) got over $8 billion. The arbitration tribunal recognized that the rights of foreign investors were violated due to expropriation of YUKOS assets.
Russia moved to set aside the arbitration ruling and turned to the District Court of the Hague.
In the meantime, Yukos shareholders filed applications in different countries seeking recognition and enforcement of the awards.
In June 2015, funds in bank accounts of the French office of Rossiya Segodnya news agency were frozen on request of a French court enforcement officer acting in accordance with the claim submitted by Hulley Enterprises Ltd. The assets were not transferred to former Yukos shareholders and remained frozen, since Russia Today challenged the request.
The District Court of The Hague overturned the arbitration ruling in April saying that the arbitration tribunal lacked competence to consider the case. The same day former Yukos shareholders said that the judgement of the District Court of The Hague would be appealed. Thus, Tim Osborne from GML informed RAPSI that some issues related to the Energy Charter Treaty, from which Russia withdrew in 2009 and which became the stumbling block in the dispute, remained open.
In the light of this fact, this May representatives of the former YUKOS shareholders lodged a petition with a US court to stay their motion to recognize and enforce the awards.