The Supreme Court of the Netherlands decides to review the Yukos case

"The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the [Hague] Court of Appeal and sent the case for reconsideration to the Amsterdam Court of Appeal for a decision," the document said.

The court stressed that the appeal filed by the Russian side was satisfied on one point. According to the Supreme Court, "the argument of the Russian Federation that the shareholders committed fraud in the arbitration proceedings was wrongly rejected by the appellate court on procedural grounds and should have been considered from a substantive point of view. In view of this, the court concluded that the decision of the Court of Appeal in The Hague could not be upheld.

At the same time, the court rejected the Russian side's appeal on other counts. In particular, this concerns the complaint about the interpretation of provisions of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), on the basis of which the [international] arbitration received its authority, and the complaint about the non-compliance of this arbitration with its mandate. "The decision of the Court of Appeals of The Hague on these issues is final," the court said.

Long years of litigation

An international arbitration mediated by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ordered Russia to pay more than $50 billion to Yukos Universal, Hulley Enterprises and Veteran Petroleum related to former Yukos shareholders after 10 years of proceedings in 2014.
This verdict was appealed in the District Court of The Hague, which sided with Moscow, invalidating the arbitration decisions in April 2016 and lifting Russia's obligation to pay the said amount. However, in February 2020, the Hague Court of Appeals reversed the district court verdict and reinstated the arbitration awards, requiring Russia to pay more than $50 billion. In May 2020, it was announced that Russia had filed a cassation appeal against the decision with the Supreme Court of the Netherlands.

One of Russia's main arguments was that the arbitration clause (i.e., the very possibility of creating an international arbitration) contained in the ECT could not be applied because Russia had not ratified this international treaty. In addition, lawyers representing the Russian side drew attention to the fact that the ECT cannot protect so-called investments, which were in fact a withdrawal of money from the Russian Federation for subsequent money laundering and tax evasion, and the plaintiffs' shell companies cannot be regarded as foreign investors subject to protection in international arbitration.

Earlier the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, which contested the ruling in the Yukos case, expressed the hope that the Supreme Court of the Netherlands would take a critical view of the prosecutor's position and make a balanced and well-grounded decision on the Russian cassation complaint, complying with international law principles.

In February, in the final part of the session, Mikhail Galperin, Commissioner of the Russian Federation to the European Court of Human Rights and Deputy Minister of Justice, addressed the Supreme Court judges and reminded that back in 2011, the ECHR unanimously refused to recognize the Yukos case as politically motivated and confirmed the absence of evidence of violations of Yukos ownership rights, discrimination against the company and abuse of power by the Russian authorities.


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