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Yukos former co-owner Nevzlin hopes Moscow will pay $50 billion compensation

July 28, 2014, 17:50 UTC+3 TEL AVIV

Yukos oil giant was accused of tax crimes and declared a bankrupt by a court ruling in 2006 while its assets were sold at auctions during the liquidation procedure

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Ex-Yukos co-owner Leonid Nevzlin

Ex-Yukos co-owner Leonid Nevzlin

© ITAR-TASS/Vitaly Belousov

TEL AVIV, July 28. /ITAR-TASS/. Yukos former co-owner Leonid Nevzlin said on Monday he hoped Russia would honor a ruling by The Hague arbitration court and pay $50 billion to former shareholders of the now defunct oil company.

Nevzlin, a beneficiary of Group Menatep Limited (GML), which held a controlling stake in Yukos, said in an interview with ITAR-TASS he hoped Moscow would honor the court’s ruling and avoid a freeze of its assets similar to the case with the Swiss trading company Noga several years ago.

“I hope the Russian government will honor this decision and pay compensation for the illegitimate expropriation of Yukos assets,” Nevzlin said.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague passed rulings in three separate cases, in which former shareholders in Yukos, once Russia’s largest oil company, had sought some $100 billion in compensation.

In its final awards, the arbitration tribunal unanimously ruled that Russia “had taken measures with the effect equivalent to an expropriation of claimants’ investments in Yukos and thus had breached the Energy Charter Treaty.”

Nevzlin said Swiss trader Noga had earlier sued Russia for unilateral cancellation of a contract, after which “public arrests of its property began”.

“I hope they [the Russian authorities] will not make things worse to this point,” Nevzlin said.

Nevzlin, who was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment by a Russian court for plotting murders and kidnappings and is currently living in Israel, said neither he nor his representatives wanted any confrontation with Russia.

“This is not a war but a further step would be to search for and freeze [Russia’s] assets across the world, Nevzlin said, outlining a prospect for further actions by former Yukos shareholders.

Nevzlin said he had not expected that The Hague arbitration tribunal would oblige Russia to pay $50 billion in compensation.

“Of course, I’m satisfied, of course, I didn’t expect that Group Menatep Limited would win the total sum but I also didn’t expect that such a large amount would be awarded. This is a sort of a gift. GML demanded $114 billion but the court estimated losses at about $50 billion.” Nevzlin said.

“I’m not a shareholder of Group Menatep Limited. I’m a beneficiary of fractions, which control GML, one of the basic beneficiaries. From this viewpoint, to avoid any misinterpretation, I welcome The Hague court’s decision,” Nevzlin said.

Yukos oil giant was accused of tax crimes and declared a bankrupt by a court ruling in 2006 while its assets were sold at auctions during the liquidation procedure.

Yukos former head Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev were found guilty of embezzlement and tax evasion in May 2005 and sentenced to nine years in prison.

While serving their prison term, both Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were found guilty of embezzlement and money laundering in a second criminal case in December 2010 and sentenced to 14 years in prison, with account taken of the jail term they had served.

Khodorkovsky was pardoned by Russian President Vladimir Putin and left the prison in December 2013. Lebedev was released from the jail in early 2014.

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