Swiss company seeks Russian assets in France

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Swiss company Noga has won a final court order here allowing it to seize Russian assets in France worth 50 million euros (73.5 million dollars) to settle a dispute with Moscow over payments.

17 January 2008  

PARIS - Swiss company Noga has won a final court order
here allowing it to seize Russian assets in France worth 50 million euros
(73.5 million dollars) to settle a dispute with Moscow over payments, the
company's lawyer said Thursday.

Lawyer Antoine Korkmaz said that with the court order, Noga had employed a
bailiff since January 2 to proceed with about 15 searches at some of the top
French banks and finance houses who were believed to be holding Russian
government assets.
Earlier this week, Russia said it would appeal against what it called an
"illegal" French court order freezing the bank accounts in France of several
Russian organisations.

"The Russian side intends to protest the court order on the freezing of
bank accounts of Russian organisations ... The Russian Foreign Ministry has
already sent a note to the French authorities," the ministry said in a
statement. The ministry said the freeze was an "illegal seizure of Russian assets."

The accounts were blocked after a request for compensation from Swiss
company Noga as part of a long-running dispute over payments allegedly owed to
the company by the Russian government, officials said.
Citing a French bailiff's order, RIA Novosti news agency said the accounts
included those of several Russian state companies including arms monopoly
Rosoboronexport, as well as of government ministries.

Noga concluded an oil-for-food deal with the Russian government in the
1990s worth around 1.5 billion dollars (1.3 billion euros). The Swiss company
alleges Russia never fulfilled its side of the deal.

Noga has since tried to reclaim the sum by seizing Russian assets abroad.
French authorities briefly seized a Russian sailing ship moored at a French
port in 2000 in a bid to reclaim the money and Noga lawyers also tried to lay
claim to two Russian jets at an air show outside Paris in 2001.

[Copyright AFP 2008]

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