MOSCOW, February 18. /TASS/. The Russian side will appeal against the decision of The Hague Court of Appeal, which ruled to recover $50 bln from Russia for the benefit of former shareholders of Yukos on Tuesday, within three months, Head of the International Legal Protection Center representing Russia in the Yukos case Andrey Kondakov told TASS.
"The period for filing appeal to the Dutch Supreme Court is three months, and we will file it through cassation appeal within those three months," he said, adding that "the consideration (of appeal by the Dutch Supreme Court) usually takes around 18 months."
On February 18, The Hague Court of Appeal reinstated an order of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which in 2014 ordered Russia to pay $50 bln to the companies associated with former Yukos shareholders. "Unfortunately, despite the lack of clear and unambiguous consent for such an arbitration proceeding provided by the Russian Federation, The Hague Court of Appeal ignored the opinion of The Hague District Court and recognized validity of the Hague arbitration rulings," Kondakov said.
The Hague Court of Appeal ignored the fact that ex-shareholders of Yukos were not bona fide investors as they had won control of the company’s assets through a number of unlawful actions, including collusion and bribing officials, he noted. "Former majority owners conducted mass tax evasion, siphoning off assets, money laundering and other unlawful acts," Kondakov added.
Press service of Russia’s Ministry of Justice said earlier on Tuesday that Russia would continue to defend its legitimate interests and would appeal the verdict of the appeal court with the Dutch Supreme Court.
The international arbitration created through the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 2014 obliged Russia to pay about $50 bln to the companies associated with former Yukos shareholders — Yukos Universal Limited, Hulley Enterprises Limited and Veteran Petroleum Limited. The judges ruled that the actions of the Russian Federation with respect to Yukos violated Article 45 of the Energy Charter, which the country signed, but did not ratify. The Russian side appealed that a number of provisions of the treaty could not be applied to the Russian Federation without following the ratification procedure. On April 20, 2016, The Hague District Court declared the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s decisions invalid and dropped the obligations to pay $50 bln Russia.
However, in the summer of 2016, the ex-shareholders appealed to the Hague Court of Appeal to reverse the district court’s decision and restore the arbitral awards to pay $50 bln. At the end of 2017, the Russian party sent a memorandum to the Hague Court of Appeal with a detailed response to the appeal. It put forward the position that the contract could not be applied to Russia, therefore, the arbitration tribunal did not have the purview to consider the claims. In addition, the memorandum expanded the arguments about unlawful acts committed during and after the privatization of Yukos. In particular, examples of manipulation and collusion during mortgage auctions, bribing state managers, creating an extensive network of shell companies to minimize taxes and exporting illegally acquired assets abroad, concealing the true beneficiaries of the supposedly foreign companies that filed lawsuits in The Hague against the Russian Federation are given.