UPDATE: Minister: Russia to challenge Hague Court decision on Yukos
(Adds comment in third paragraph)
MOSCOW, Feb 20 (PRIME) -- Russia will definitely challenge the decision of the Hague Court of Appeal that ordered the country to pay U.S. $50 billion to the former majority shareholders of defunct oil company Yukos, Justice Minister Konstantin Chuichenko told reporters on Thursday.
УWe have no comment on the matter right now, but we will definitely challenge (the decision) in a court,Ф he said.
Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry, said that Moscow had repeatedly said that the Hague courts had had no УcompetenceФ to consider the dispute. The decision was made in violation of legal procedures, and УRussia will continue pursuing its cancellation in the Supreme Court of the Netherlands,Ф she said.
In 2003, the Russian government accused the management of the then top oil company Yukos of economic crimes. Several company managers were sentenced to prison for fraud and tax evasion. Its core owner, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was charged with several sequential sentences and spent 10 years in prison before he was pardoned by Putin. The company later declared bankruptcy, and its assets were sold to state-owned oil major Rosneft.
In July 2014, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled that the Russian government must pay a $50 billion compensation to GML, which unites former Yukos owners. Russia refused to fulfill the court order, and the shareholders sent claims to several countries, asking to help with the fulfillment of the court order. Russian asset seizures began in France and Belgium, and the Russian government contested them.
The District Court of The Hague cancelled the lower court decision on compensation in April 2016 on the ground that the case is beyond the jurisdiction of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Hague.