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Lavrov says claims to Russian assets in Belgium has to be challenged in court

June 18, 2015, 14:01 UTC+3

The minister commented on Belgium’s claims to Russian assets in the Yukos case

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

© Sergey Fadeichev/TASS

MOSCOW, June 18. /TASS/. The claims to Russia’s property in Belgium need to be challenged in court, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday.

"This needs to be challenged in a judicial procedure. If there are breaches of law, then we will take the legal steps against this," Lavrov said in a statement posted on the Foreign Ministry’s official page in the VKontakte social network.

"I have not seen the documents," he said, in reply to a question by the Echo Moskvy radio station at the St. Petersburg economic forum.

This came as comment on Belgium’s claims to Russian assets in the Yukos case.

In 2014, The Hague Arbitral Tribunal ruled that Russia should pay almost $50 billion to the companies affiliated with the former Yukos shareholders -Hulley Enterprises Limited (Cyprus), Veteran Petroleum (Cyprus) and Yukos Universal Limited (Isle of Man). The court ruled that Russia’s actions against Yukos could be regarded as expropriation of investments in breach of Article 45 of the Energy Charter which Russia had signed in the 1990 but never ratified.

Moscow has repeatedly expressed disagreement with the court’s ruling. The Russian Finance Ministry said in a statement that Yukos had not been subject to discrimination and that the actions of the government bodies were not politically-motivated. In addition to that, the Hague Arbitration Court had no jurisdiction to pass such a decision.

The attempts to use Russian property to enforce the decision have been made by France and Belgium.

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