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Hague court starts charging interest on Russia’s $50 billion Yukos fine

January 16, 2015, 14:41 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Lawyers estimate that the sum could reach $1.7 billion within a year
1 pages in this article
© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Vyazovoi

MOSCOW, January 16. /TASS/. Russia will have interest added to the penalty starting on Friday as a grace period on payment of a $50.1 billion fine to former shareholders in the defunct oil giant Yukos has expired.

Lawyers estimate that the sum could reach $1.7 billion within a year.

In July, the Hague court sustained a claim of the former Yukos shareholders demanding that Russia should compensate for the damage, and ordered Moscow to pay $50.1 billion, half as much as originally claimed.

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.

Under the court ruling, Russia has to compensate the damages within 180 days or until January 15. If the payment is not made on time, interest will start being charged.

Arthur Zurabyan, who heads International Judicial Disputes and Commercial Courts Section of Art de Lex, said Russia has sent a request to cancel the court’s decisions within a 3-month period.

“Until now there is no information on any decisions upon these requests,” he said, adding that the request itself does not mean that the court’s decision has been suspended.

The biggest sum, $39.97 billion, is to be paid to the Cypriot offshore company Hulley Enterprises Limited related to Yukos former shareholder Group Menatep Limited (subsequently renamed GML).

The sum of $8.20 billion was awarded to another Cypriot company, Veteran Petroleum, which had acted as a pension fund for the Yukos employees.

Compensation to Yukos Universal Limited is $1.85 billion.

The lawsuit from GML, which had held more than 50% of Yukos shares before the company’s bankruptcy, was filed in 2007.

Yukos founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky owned 70% of GML shares until 2003. After his arrest he transferred the shares to his business partner Leonid Nevzlin. Apart from Nevzlin, other major GML stakeholders are Platon Lebedev, Mikhail Budno, Vladimir Dubov, and Vasily Shakhnovsky (each holding 7.3-8.6% of shares).

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