Tuesday

22nd May 2018

Russia ordered to pay €1.8bn by human rights court

The European Court of Human Rights Thursday (31 July) told Russia to pay €1.86 billion to the shareholders of the disbanded Yukos oil group.

“The court decided that this amount should be paid by the Russian Government to Yukos’s shareholders and their legal successors and heirs,” it said in a statement.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Yukos oil group went bust in 2007 (Photo: Flickr)

The fine is the largest ever from the Strasbourg-based court, significantly more than its previous record of €90 million handed out in May against Turkey in case with Cyprus.

The court in September 2011 had already found Russia guilty for having violated rights in the European convention by imposing excessive penalties on Yukos and for not giving it enough time to mount a legal defence.

Thursday’s decision aimed only to fix the amount of the fine on the three-year old verdict.

The court also ordered Russia to pay a €300,000 lump sum on top to cover the costs and expenses of the Dutch-based Yuko International Foundation.

The decision comes at a sensitive geo-political moment.

Russia’s economy is already set to lose billions following Western-economic sanctions for its role in the conflict raging in eastern Ukraine.

Russia’s ministry of justice said it “does not view this ruling as an example of a fair and unbiased approach to the legal and factual circumstances of the case”.

It noted it could appeal the decision within three months.

Headed by former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Yukos filed for bankruptcy in 2006 before being liquidated the following year.

Khodorkovsky, who now lives in Switzerland, spent nearly a decade in a Russian prison on charges of tax evasion.

Russian authorities said the former state-owned firm, which was privatised in 1995-6, was guilty of setting up sham companies to avoid paying taxes.

At the time, Yukos’ assets were seized pending litigation, preventing the company from repaying the debts.

Russian authorities seized and auctioned off Yuganskneftegaz, a Yukos production subsidiary viewed as the group’s only hope for survival.

When the group finally went bust in 2007, most of its assets were taken over by Rosneft, an energy giant run by an ally of President Vladimir Putin.

Lawyers representing Yukos had originally requested the Russian government pay €81 billion with daily interest but dropped it to €37.9 billion following the court’s 2011 judgement on the violations committed.

The Strasbourg court on Thursday dismissed the Yukos argument that the violations alone led to the company’s ultimate demise and confiscation of assets and so awarded them only €1.8 billon.

The decision comes on the heels of another much larger fine from an international arbitration court in The Hague earlier in the week.

In that case, Russia was fined €37 billion for having expropriated Yukos assets as part of a broader politically-motivated campaign of attacks against the company.

Sofia summit: EU leaders search for a Trump strategy

"With friends like that, who needs enemies?" European Council Donald Tusk asked on Wednesday, as EU leaders were trying to come up with a reply to the US president's questioning of the transatlantic relationship.

Devil in detail in Macedonia name talks

Unlocking Macedonia talks could be this year's big breakthrough in EU enlargement, but the devil's in the detail of Macedonia's constitution, as Macedonian prime minister Zoran Zaev and Greek PM Alexis Tsipras meet in Sofia.

Analysis

EU has no 'magic bullet' against US Iran sanctions

EU leaders in Sofia will discuss how they can protect the bloc's economic interests against US threats to sanction companies doing business in Iran. But their options are limited.

Analysis

EU has no 'magic bullet' against US Iran sanctions

EU leaders in Sofia will discuss how they can protect the bloc's economic interests against US threats to sanction companies doing business in Iran. But their options are limited.

Opinion

Ratifying CETA after 'Achmea scandal' is anti-European

While few people in Europe have heard of the 'Achmea' ruling, the case will have far-reaching consequences. Member states must understand the implications of the case quickly - especially those considering ratifying the EU-Canada trade agreement.

News in Brief

  1. German prosecutor orders Puigdemont to Spain
  2. EU to split trade and investment agreements
  3. EU to start trade talks with Australia and New Zealand
  4. Unknown professor proposed as Italy's new prime minister
  5. 154 German economists warn against eurozone reform
  6. Growing €176bn EU trade deficit with China
  7. All 4.8m Swedish homes get 'war preparation' leaflet
  8. Trump warns Nato allies' low budgets will be 'dealt with'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  2. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  3. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  5. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  7. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  10. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  11. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  12. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May

Latest News

  1. US asks EU to go after Russian and African villains
  2. Facebook threatened with removal from EU-US data pact
  3. Defence firms 'reap benefits' of their advice to EU
  4. Athens mayor wants direct access to EU migration fund
  5. Nordics could be first carbon-negative region in world
  6. Zuckerberg and Trump top the EU's agenda This WEEK
  7. Integration of Syrian refugees in Europe needs scrutiny
  8. Bulgarian PM: No asylum reform without stronger border