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Belgian court to hold hearing on unlocking Russia’s assets seized under Yukos claim

BRUSSELS, June 9. /TASS/. A Belgian court has scheduled a sitting for November to decide on unlocking Russia’s assets seized through the efforts of former Yukos shareholders, a lawyer for the Russian state in the Yukos case told TASS on Thursday.

Preliminary hearings on the Yukos case started in Brussels on Thursday.

"A hearing has been held today on a sequence of activities to suspend an enforcement list received by Yukos Universal Limited [representing the interests of former Yukos majority shareholders] in 2015 in the Brussels court on the seizure of Russia-owned properties in Belgium pursuant to a ruling of The Hague Tribunal," said Niuscha Bassiri, a partner of an attorney group defending Russia’s interests in the case against former Yukos shareholders.

According to the lawyer, the Belgian court examined a further procedure in Belgium after The Hague district judicial authority overturned on April 20 an original arbitration ruling on Russia to pay $50 billion in compensation to former Yukos shareholders.

As Bassiri said, Yukos lawyers intended to file an appeal in The Hague and insisted on halting hearings in Belgium on unlocking the Russian property before the appeal was examined.

"We’re glad to announce that the Russian Federation has managed to keep in force all the procedures for suspending the enforcement writ [for the seizure of Russian property in Belgium]," she said.

The court has decided to schedule for November the hearings on the entire case: both under a lawsuit on suspending the enforcement writ so that opponents cannot seek asset seizures and under the merits of this enforcement writ, i.e. to invalidate it under our inquiry. We are very glad about that because this means that the court shares our opinion about the importance of the procedure of halting the enforcement writ," the lawyer said.

Currently, Belgium’s judicial decision on the seizure of several properties belonging to Russia and Russian companies has been frozen until a final court ruling.