Dutch court unfreezes Yukos' funds

7th January 2011, Comments 0 comments


The Supreme Court in the Netherlands has ruled in favour of Dutch-incorporated Yukos International, a unit of dissolved Russian oil giant Yukos, in a dispute with Russia's Promneftstroy over 1.2 billion proceeds from an oil refinery sale in Lithuania.

The ruling is one of several court cases that surviving foreign units of Yukos have filed to recoup money. The Dutch Supreme Court on Friday reversed an order by a court in New York, which had frozen the disputed funds at the request of Promneftstroy.

Oil giant Yugos Oil filed for bankruptcy in 2006 after Russian tax police filed enormous claims for unpaid taxes against it. Its production assets were sold off at state-run auctions. The Russian authorities dissolved the company in 2007 and the company was no longer a legal entity.

Yukos International sold the refinery in 2006. The Russian Yukos Oil was chief shareholder of Yukos Finance, which in turn was the main shareholder in the Dutch-owned Yukos International. Yukos International sold the refinery in 2006. Promneftstroy said that it was entitled to the proceeds after it bought Dutch entity Yukos Finance, the parent company of Yukos International, the court said in a statement.

The Netherlands' highest court said that Dutch-incorporated Yukos International was entitled to the 1.2 billion in sale proceeds because the Russian bankruptcy declaration of Yukos could not be recognised in the Netherlands. The court concluded that Promneftstroy did not have a legitimate claim to the funds.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Yukos' former owner and previously Russia's richest man, has been in jail since 2003. His sentence was extended until 2017 last month on conviction of theft and money-laundering.


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