Shareholders of the defunct oil giant Yukos won a long-running court battle against Russia, which must now pay US$50 billion for expropriating the assets, Reuters said on Monday, citing a Kommersant report.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague was set to announce later on Monday that Russia must pay the compensation — half of the original US$100 billion claim — to former shareholders of the company, once Russia’s largest oil producer, the newspaper said, citing sources.
The claim was made by subsidiaries of Gibraltar-based Group Menatep, a company through which Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man, controlled Yukos. Group Menatep now exists as holding company GML, the report said, adding that Khodorkovsky is no longer a shareholder of GML or Yukos.
Khodorkovsky was arrested at gunpoint in 2003 and convicted of theft and tax evasion in 2005. His company, once worth US$40 billion, was broken up and nationalized, with most of the assets handed to Rosneft, a company run by Igor Sechin, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, according to the wire agency.
Kremlin critics said the case, which has lasted for almost a decade, was an example of Putin’s increasingly autocratic rule, the report said.
The court ruled that Russia had infringed an international energy charter, which, among other provisions, provided protection to investors in the energy sector, according to Kommersant.
Russia must start paying the compensation by Jan. 2 next year, or face growing interest on the fine, the report said, adding that Russia was expected to appeal against the ruling.
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