A Dutch court has overturned a ruling that Russia should pay the former shareholders of the Yukos oil company $50 billion in a dispute over the breakup of what was once Russia's largest oil producer.
The district court in The Hague ruled on Wednesday that the arbitration panel that set the award in 2014 did not have jurisdiction to rule in the case. It said the ruling was based on a treaty that Russia had not ratified.
The former Yukos shareholders, who received nothing when Yukos was dismantled, are suing for compensation. After Wednesday's ruling they vowed to appeal and continue to press for payment.
Wednesday's ruling, a victory for the Russian government, may free up assets that were frozen in 2014 when the former shareholders attempted to collect the award. Russia's legal team is expected to file motions to release the assets in Belgium and in France.
Yukos was run by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, an advocate of democratization and Russian reform, from the mid-1990s until he was arrested in 2003 and the company was forcibly dismantled by the state, allegedly for unpaid taxes.