MOSCOW, March 12. /TASS/. Shareholders of Russia’s once largest oil company Yukos have offered Russia a discount for compensation payments awarded by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the Hague Tribunal, Russian business daily Vedomosti reported on Thursday.
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe started to discuss on Wednesday Russia’s execution of the ECHR’s rulings, including a decision obliging it to pay €1.8 billion in compensation to the ex-Yukos shareholders.
Ex-Yukos shareholders Yukos Universal and Hulley have said that once Russia pays them €1.8 billion, they are ready to take this sum into account to determine the amount of compensation payments under the Hague Tribunal’s ruling.
The shareholders have sent a letter to the Committee of Ministers, saying Russia must submit a plan within a short period of time, stipulating compensation payments to all shareholders of Yukos that had been on its register at the time of the company’s liquidation.
The ex-Yukos shareholders said the plan should be approved by the Committee of Ministers and should prescribe a transparent and effective algorithm, taking into account the international composition of the Yukos shareholders and the fact that many Yukos shares either belonged to nominal companies, including Universal Limited and Hulley Enterprises, or were placed into American Depositary Receipts (ADRs).
Russia believes Europe is trying to punish it twice in the Yukos case: shortly before the ECHR’s ruling, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague concluded that the Yukos bankruptcy was in breach of the Energy Charter and obliged Moscow to pay €50 billion to Hulley, Yukos Universal and Veteran Petroleum. The Court has rejected Russia’s arguments while Yukos Universal and Hulley have said that once they are paid compensation awarded by the ECHR, they will take this sum into account when they determine the amount that Moscow has to pay them under the Hague Tribunal’s ruling.
The documents submitted by the ex-Yukos shareholders have been brought to the notice of Russia’s Justice Ministry and are being studied. Head of the office of Russia’s authorized representative in the ECHR Andrei Fyodorov told Vedomosti the term for Russia to submit a plan for executing the court’s ruling would expire on July 16 and Russia needs to get its approval only from the Committee of Ministers and not from anyone else.
Yukos’ spokesperson Claire Davidson declined to answer the paper’s questions.
Yukos oil giant was accused of tax crimes and declared a bankrupt by a Russian 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.