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Dutch court delays ruling on ex-Yukos shareholders' $333 mln claim vs Rosneft

The likely date of the court ruling is now February 11

THE HAGUE. December 31. /TASS/. The Amsterdam District Court delayed again its ruling on Wednesday on a $333 million lawsuit filed by Yukos International UK BV, a company affiliated with former shareholders of Russia’s once most powerful oil company Yukos, against Russian state-owned oil producer Rosneft.

“The date of passing a ruling has been postponed. We don’t know for how long but most likely by six weeks [until February 11],” a court representative said in reply to TASS’ inquiry.

“We don’t have exact information right now and I believe it will appear only next week,” he said.

Yukos International UK BV has initiated court proceedings against Rosneft and some other co-defendants not affiliated with Rosneft, demanding compensation for losses estimated at $333 million, as well as interest accrued since February 7, 2011 and judicial expenses.

The company claims it suffered losses from a freeze of its bank account, following a ruling passed by the Amsterdam court in 2008 over the bankruptcy and liquidation of Yukos. Yukos Int. claimed in its lawsuit that the court ruling “limited its ability to invest certain amounts at its discretion.” The first court hearings on the matter were held in summer 2012.

In autumn 2012, Rosneft filed an objection to the claim, saying that the court ruled on freezing the assets in a proper way and Yukos Int. sustained no losses as it deposited its funds in an interest-bearing account it selected.

Yukos Int. submitted an application in response to the objection in winter 2013. The hearings took place in January 2014, and Yukos Int. was allowed to amend its claims.

As a result, the company presented claims to Rosneft also on the grounds of collective responsibility with the aim to impose alleged responsibility of one of the defendants on Rosneft. The Russian company presented its reply to the new claim in February 2014.

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. Major assets were acquired by state-controlled Rosneft.

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.

In the summer of 2014, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague passed a ruling, obliging Russia to pay $50 billion compensation to ex-Yukos shareholders who had sought some $100 billion in damages.

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.”.