News / Economy

European Court: Russia Must Pay Yukos Shareholders 1.9B Euros

FILE - Oil workers prepare to pump water into the Priobskoye oil field in Western Siberia, which once belonged to the Yukos oil company and were bought by state oil company Rosneft, after a controversial auction in 2004.
FILE - Oil workers prepare to pump water into the Priobskoye oil field in Western Siberia, which once belonged to the Yukos oil company and were bought by state oil company Rosneft, after a controversial auction in 2004.
Reuters

Europe's top human rights court awarded shareholders in Yukos 1.9 billion euros [$2.6 billion] in damages on Thursday, a new blow to Russia days after some of the former oil company's shareholders won $50 billion in The Hague.

The Strasbourg-based court found that Russia had failed to “strike a fair balance” in its treatment of Yukos, once run by former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and had forced the company to pay excessive fees.

While the 1.9 billion euros awarded by the European Court of Human Rights [ECHR] is a fraction of the 38 billion euros that Yukos sought, it hits Russia hard at a time when the country is on the brink of recession and is reeling from tougher sanctions imposed by the West this week over its actions in Ukraine.

“We received the news with a great joy, this is an unprecedented decision, the court has never ever awarded such a big sum,” said Olga Pispanen, a spokeswoman for Khodorkovsky, who was arrested at gunpoint in 2003 and convicted of theft and tax evasion in 2005.

He was released last year after 10 years in prison.

Yukos, once worth $40 billion, was broken up and nationalized a decade ago, with most of its assets handed to Rosneft, an energy giant run by an ally of President Vladimir Putin.

Russia's Justice Ministry said the ECHR ruling was unfair and biased and said it could appeal within three months.

The court also ruled Russia should pay 300,000 euros in costs and expenses, plus any tax. Yukos had requested 4.3 billion pounds in legal fees, $174,000 for costs of an expert report and $588,148 for other fees.

'Just satisfaction'

“The awarded amount is already totally unprecedented in the human rights field,” said Jan Kleinheisterkamp, associate professor of law at the London School of Economics. “1.9 billion euros is humongous in terms of compensation granted by the ECHR.”

Yukos had argued in the ECHR that Russia had unlawfully seized it after imposing bogus taxes and via a sham auction.

An interim ruling by the ECHR in 2011 found that Russia had not misused legal proceedings to destroy Yukos but ruled that enforcement proceedings used against Yukos had been disproportionate.

It invited a claim for 'just satisfaction', or compensation, from Yukos. Yukos had sought compensation of just under 38 billion euros. This was based on a valuation by a specialist energy firm, according to a source close to the claim.

The damages were being sought on behalf of all Yukos shareholders. There are around 55,000 named Yukos shareholders, some of which are funds representing a number of shareholders.

“This is another confirmation of the fact that everything that Russia did against the oil company, was illegal,” Leonid Nevzlin, a former Yukos executive and top shareholder, told Echo Moskvy radio. He said this was a consequence of Russia's refusing to seek a compromise abroad for Yukos.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7768
JPY
USD
108.84
GBP
USD
0.6124
CAD
USD
1.0999
INR
USD
61.042

Rates may not be current.