Court orders Russia to pay $50 billion for seizing Yukos assets

July 28, 2014

An international arbitration court ruled on Monday that Russia must pay $50 billion (29.45 billion pounds) for expropriating the assets of Yukos, the former oil giant whose ex-owner Mikhail Khodorkovsky fell foul of the Kremlin.

Finding that Russian authorities had subjected Yukos to politically-motivated attacks, the panel made an award to a group of former Yukos shareholders that equates to more than half the entire fund Moscow has set aside to cover budget holes.

Russia, whose economy is on the brink of recession, said it would appeal the ruling by the Dutch-based panel, which judges private business disputes. It also said the "politically biased decision" was based on "current events" - an apparent reference to Moscow's dispute with the West over Ukraine.

Independent lawyers said it would be difficult to enforce the award to shareholders in the GML group, who had claimed $114 billion to recover money they lost when the Kremlin seized Yukos a decade ago.

Copyright, Reuters, 2014.