Court rules against Russia in Yukos case: report

13th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

A Stockholm arbitration court ruled in favor of a Yukos shareholder over its lost investment in jailed Mikhail Khodorkovsky's oil company after the Russian government's tax fraud probe, Russian newspaper Vedomosti reported Thursday.

Assets of the now defunct Yukos -- formerly Russia's top oil company headed by Khodorkovsky -- have been sold off after its owner was jailed for tax evasion.

The decision of the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, posted by Vedomosti on its website, rules against the Russian state and sides with British shareholder Rosinvest.

It calls the expropriation of Rosinvest's ownership in Yukos "unlawful, not in the public interest, discriminatory and without payment of compensation."

Rosinvest based their case on a bilateral treaty made in Soviet times to protect mutual investment and makes expropriation without compensation illegal. Rulings of the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce are not public. The court's decision is dated 12 September 2010, but became available to the newspaper after Russia made an appeal last month.

Although the court awarded 3.3 millions dollars, only a fraction of damages sought by Rosinvest, the implications of similar legal cases by other shareholders may "threaten Russia with billions in losses," Vedomosti said.

Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev were found guilty last month of money laundering and embezzlement in a second trial which the defence alleged was influenced by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

© 2011 AFP

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