The former owners of the defunct oil major Yukos are seeking $50 billion from Moscow
© Getty Images / Oleg Nikishin / Stringer
A US court has dismissed Russia’s sovereign immunity defense in the high-profile Yukos case and upheld the enforcement of a $50 billion award to the former shareholders of the now-defunct company, RBK business daily reported on Sunday, citing documents.
Energy giant Yukos, once owned by ex-oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, collapsed in 2006 after the company failed to pay billions of dollars in back taxes.
According to the report, the US District Court for the District of Columbia has rejected Russia’s request to recognize the $50 billion dispute with former Yukos shareholders as not subject to jurisdiction. On November 17, Judge Beryl Howell denied Russia’s motion, filed back in 2015, stating that the dispute with the shareholders was outside the jurisdiction of any foreign court.
“This case can now proceed to the merits to determine whether the final awards [issued in 2014 by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague – RBK] should be enforced according to the New York Convention,” the judge reportedly wrote, commenting on the order.
The ruling concerns a decade-long trial at the International Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which, in 2014, ruled that Moscow had violated its international obligations by taking steps to bankrupt the massive oil company in the early 2000s. The arbitration tribunal then ordered Russia to pay $50 billion in compensation to the former controlling shareholders of Yukos: Hulley Enterprises and Veteran Petroleum based in Cyprus and Yukos Universal based in the Isle of Man. The Dutch Supreme Court later overturned the ruling.