MOSCOW, June 8 (RAPSI) – Russia filed with the US District Court for the District of Columbia an amended motion seeking to dismiss a claim by former YUKOS shareholders to enforce arbitration awards totaling $50 billion.
The lawyers representing Russia have explained its motion by new evidence supporting their arguments since the date (October 20, 2015) it filed a motion to dismiss and motion to deny recognition of the award. In particular, in this new motion (RAPSI has a copy of the document) the lawyers refer to litigations on similar issues in other jurisdictions, namely, the Netherlands and Germany. Besides, the document maintains that a stay of the proceedings in the US requested by the former YUKOS shareholders “would only aggravate the significant economic harm… to the Russian people” caused by “illegitimate, multibillion-dollar demands” and a devastating dispute lasting already for 11 years.
The litigation in the Hague Permanent Court of Arbitration was initiated by Hulley Enterprises Ltd., Yukos Universal Ltd., and Veteran Petroleum Ltd., affiliated with GML, the main YUKOS shareholder (known as Group MENATEP prior to 2004).
The international arbitration tribunal has recognized that the rights of foreign investors were violated due to expropriation of YUKOS assets in July of 2004 and awarded an unprecedented compensation to the company’s shareholders.
This April, the District Court of the Hague has overturned the award ruling that the Hague Permanent Court of Arbitration had lacked competence to review this dispute. The same day the former YUKOS shareholders announced their resolve to appeal against this decision with a higher court. Thus, Tim Osborne from GML informed RAPSI at that time that some issues related to the Energy Charter Treaty, from which Russia withdrew in 2009 and which became the stumbling block in the dispute, remained open.
In the light of this fact, this May representatives of the former YUKOS shareholders lodged a petition with a US court to stay their motion to recognize and enforce the awards.
In its supplemental motion in the US court, Russia has expressed its surprise with this step noting that by the former YUKOS shareholders’ own calculation the proceedings could last between six and nine years. According to the White & Case lawyers representing the Russian Federation, it would be intolerable with regard to “fundamental principles of sovereign immunity.”
The lawyers have again brought the April ruling of the Hague District Court to notice of the US court. They also referred to a judgement the District Court of Amsterdam issued on November 5, 2015, which, allegedly, revealed the plaintiffs’ ineligibility for arbitration on the grounds that they were not actually “foreign investors” for the ECT purposes, but merely shell companies, owned and controlled by Russian oligarchs. This April, these arguments were presented in a Berlin court, where representatives of the Russian Federation pointed out that Hulley Enterprises Ltd., Yukos Universal Ltd., and Veteran Petroleum Ltd. were used to perpetuate and conceal a series of massive frauds.