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Iran Press TV

Hague court fines Russia over $50bn in Yukos case

Iran Press TV

Mon Jul 28, 2014 1:28PM GMT

An international arbitration panel in the Netherlands has ordered Russia to pay USD 51.6 billion (£30.38 billion) in damages to a group of shareholders of the defunct oil giant, Yukos, for expropriating its assets.

The ruling was issued on Monday by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague after almost a decade of hearings.

The court accused officials under Russian President Vladimir Putin of manipulating the country's legal system to bankrupt the energy giant.

It also noted that Russian courts assigned the valuable assets of Yukos to a state-controlled company and imprisoned its founder, former Russian oligarch, Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

'Yukos was the object of a series of politically-motivated attacks by the Russian authorities that eventually led to its destruction,' the court said.

In reaction to the ruling, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed that Moscow could launch an appeal and would do everything to defend itself.

"The Russian side, those agencies which represent Russia in this process, will...use all available legal possibilities to defend its position,' he said.

Meanwhile, Russia's energy company, Rosneft, which acquired the assets of Yukos, also said that all its dealings have been lawful.

Khodorkovsky, the former chief of Yukos Oil Company, was arrested in 2003 in Siberia over fraud and tax evasion. The company, once worth USD 40 billion, was broken up and later sold off after Khodorkovsky's arrest.

He was also convicted of theft and money laundering in a second trial in 2010. Three years later, however, Khodorkovsky was freed from jail on humanitarian grounds following a decree from the Russian president pardoning the former tycoon.

SSM/AB/SS



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