Yukos ruling politically motivated, Kremlin says

Court has no jurisdiction, deputy foreign minister says.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Aug. 12, 2014 at 9:29 AM
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MOSCOW, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- An arbitration panel at The Hague decided its case against former Russian oil company Yukos on political grounds, Russia's deputy foreign minister said Tuesday.

"Instead of an objective and unbiased consideration of the matter, the Arbitration Court panel was guided by situational considerations in its actions and, as a result, passed a politically motivated decision," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vasily Nebenzya said in Tuesday interview with news agency ITAR-Tass.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in July ruled the Kremlin is liable for around $50 billion in damages in the case against Yukos, disbanded in 2006.

Former Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky was arrested in 2003 and convicted of tax evasion and theft in 2005. The company was then sold off, with most of the shares going toward Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft, controlled by Igor Sechin, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin

Nebenzya said the court at The Hague had no jurisdiction to hear the case in the first place. The amount issued in the decision, he said, was derived arbitrarily.

The European Court of Human Rights followed the Dutch court's decision and ordered the Russian government to pay shareholders of Yukos around $2.6 billion in damages.

Russia's energy sector is the target of economic sanctions issued by Western governments frustrated with Moscow's stance on ongoing crises in Ukraine.

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