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Russian space agency wins lawsuit against asset seizure in France

April 12, 16:35 UTC+3
"They have acknowledged that our arguments are right and our accounts should not be seized," the Roscosmos spokesman said
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© Alexandra Mudrats/ITAR-TASS

MOSCOW, April 12. /TASS/. Russia’s space corporation Roscosmos has won a lawsuit in France against the seizure of its assets in the Yukos case, Roscosmos spokesman Igor Burenkov said on Tuesday.

"They have acknowledged that our arguments are right and our accounts should not be seized," the spokesman said.

"Of course, this is not yet the end of the story and, perhaps, there will be its continuation but we have won this stage. This is how we are safeguarding our interests and will continue doing so," he said.

Roscosmos chief, Igor Komarov, said on Monday he expected a positive outcome in this lawsuit. "All our matters are in the legal field and in the process of examination in French courts. I believe that we have all the grounds to hope for a positive outcome," Komarov said in an interview with Rossiya 24 television channel.

According to the Roscosmos head, the work on resolving disputes with the assets has been going on since last summer and "there is nothing new in this process."

In July 2014, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague passed a ruling obliging Russia to pay $50 billion compensation to former Yukos shareholders who claimed $100 billion from Moscow.

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."

Russia, which signed but did not ratify the Energy Charter Treaty, has repeatedly said it categorically disagrees with The Hague tribunal’s ruling.

The Russian Finance Ministry earlier said the conclusions of the Arbitration Tribunal ran counter to the conclusions of the European Court of Human Rights.

"The European Court of Human Rights has concluded twice that Yukos committed large-scale tax evasion and its management was aware of violations, that all extra tax payments required from Yukos were lawful and legitimate and that Yukos was not discriminated against and the actions by the Russian authorities were not politically motivated," the Russian Finance Ministry said in a statement at that time.

Also, the Hague Arbitration Court had no jurisdiction to examine issues raised before it, the Russian Finance Ministry said.

Yukos, once Russia’s largest oil firm, 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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