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Kremlin gives no comment on enforceability of European court’s Yukos ruling

The authorized representatives of the Russian authorities in the Constitutional Court stated that it deemed impossible to comply with the ECHR’s ruling

NAGATO (Japan), December 15. /TASS/. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on Thursday on the possibility for Russia to comply with a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the Yukos case.

"I’m not ready to comment," he told journalists in response to the relevant request.

Russia’s Constitutional Curt is examining in an open session on Thursday an inquiry from the Justice Ministry about the possibility of fulfilling the ECHR’s decision obliging Russia to pay over 1.866 billion euros to former Yukos shareholders as compensation.

"There are no grounds for the conclusions that the interpretation of the Convention in the European Court’s ruling somehow diverges from the provisions of the Constitution," member of the Presidium of the Russian Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights Ilya Shablinsky told the session.

He also said that "it is necessary to build bridges between our judicial system and the European court rather than a dead wall."

In his speech, he noted that the shareholders of the now bankrupt oil giant Yukos can be the recipients of compensation.

"In those cases when the liquidation of a company was largely the result of actions by the state, the European court’s approaches testify in favor of recognizing the shareholders as the due recipients of compensation," he said.

"The European court numerously pointed out that if a complaint is filed against the actions of the state, against such actions, which already in the course of the case examination by the ECHR led to the company’s bankruptcy and liquidation, the termination of the case hearing would undermine the very right to turn to the ECHR, because it would actually encourage the state to deprive such organizations of the possibility to participate in the process," he added.

The authorized representatives of the Russian authorities in the Constitutional Court expressed the opposite opinion and stated that it deemed impossible to comply with the ECHR’s ruling.

The ECHR ruled on July 31, 2014 to award over 1.866 billion euros in compensation payments to former Yukos shareholders under their complaint filed against Russia.

The ECHR concluded that Russian courts had breached article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights stipulating the right to a fair trial when they had examined Yukos taxation issues in the early 2000s because the company had not been given enough time to prepare for its defense.

The court also obliged Russia to pay 300,000 euros to former Yukos shareholders as compensation for their judicial expenses.

Russia’s Constitutional Court earlier ruled that the ECHR’s rulings could be enforced in Russia, only if they didn’t contradict the country’s Fundamental Law.

Yukos case

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.