Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ACROSS AFRICA

Dozens killed in attack on military camp in Mali

Read more

THE DEBATE

Splintered Left: French Socialists divided ahead of primary runoff (part 1)

Read more

THE DEBATE

Splintered Left: Are Europe's social democrats obsolete? (part 2)

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

New President says Jammeh has agreed to cede power

Read more

ACROSS AFRICA

France finally grants Senegalese vets citizenship

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Pollution threatens island paradise of Mauritius, and one Cameroonian expat's quest to bring safe drinking water to his country

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Publicis boss encourages firms to move staff to Paris post-Brexit

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'Fake news has had almost no impact on Wikipedia'

Read more

FOCUS

Iraq: Embedded with French special forces in Mosul

Read more

Europe

Rights court rules Russia's treatment of Yukos unfair

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-09-20

The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday ruled that the Yukos oil giant was unfairly punished for tax violations by the Russian government, which dismantled the firm after its boss, Mikhail Khodorkovsky (pictured), was arrested in 2003.

AP - Russia’s government violated the rights of the now-defunct oil behemoth Yukos, the European Court of Human Rights ruled Tuesday, but added it was not ready to rule on a claim for nearly $100 billion in damages.

Russian authorities were unfair in meting out punishment to the company over tax violations and didn’t give Yukos enough time to prepare its defense, according to the ruling from the court in the French city of Strasbourg.

Yukos had sought $98 billion in damages, in the largest claim ever filed in the court’s 50-year history and one of Russia’s biggest legal challenges to date.

The company - a major Russian taxpayer whose primary subsidiary once produced as much oil as all of Libya - was dismantled by Russian authorities after the 2003 arrest of its boss, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. His supporters say then-President Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin mounted an orchestrated effort to destroy a tycoon seen as a threat to Putin’s rule.

The European court found that the question of damages “is not ready for decision” and gave both parties three months to reach an eventual settlement. If they don’t, the court will rule at later on whether to order any damages.

The court’s nine-judge panel found that Russia violated three articles of the European Convention on Human Rights, but rejected several other claims filed by Yukos. It also dismissed the Russian government’s argument that the case shouldn’t be heard by the European court at all.

Even without damages, the finding could still embarrass Russia and hurt its efforts to win back international investors scared off by Yukos and other legal cases in recent years.

The court has repeatedly found Russia in violation of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights, and deals with more cases involving Russia than any other country.

The Yukos case was unusually high-profile, and is being watched by investors hungry for profits from Russia’s lucrative oil and other markets but wary of the country’s legal system, as well as by Western diplomatic observers and human rights activists.

Russian authorities had accused Yukos of using shell companies to hide revenue from tax authorities, and through the courts they ultimately froze its assets, forced it to sell its shares in other companies and declared Yukos insolvent in 2006 before the company was finally liquidated a year later. Many of its assets ended up in the hands of the state-run oil company Rosneft.

Those representing Yukos want the Russian government to pay back the taxes, fines and penalties that the company was charged, arguing that they were unlawful. The bulk of the $98 billion claim, however, is for a full refund of the value and the loss of subsequent profits from assets sold in the liquidation of Yukos.

 

Date created : 2011-09-20

  • RUSSIA

    Former Yukos boss Khodorkovsky sent to prison camp

    Read more

  • RUSSIA

    Human rights court censures Russia over Khodorovsky

    Read more

  • RUSSIA

    Top court annuls arrest of Khodorkovsky co-accused

    Read more

COMMENT(S)