The Dutch Supreme Court on Friday handed Russia at least a temporary victory in an appeal of what’s believed to be the world’s largest award in an arbitration case after former shareholders of bankrupted Russian oil giant Yukos accused the Kremlin of taking down the company to silence its CEO, a fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin.
It quashed a lower court ruling, effectively setting aside a $50 billion award made to the former shareholders in 2014 and sending the case to another court in Amsterdam to consider Russian claims that the shareholders committed fraud in the original arbitration hearings.
However, the highest Dutch court rejected the rest of Russia’s arguments, a move welcomed by the former shareholders, who said in a statement that they “won on all substantive grounds of Russia’s appeal.”
“We will study the Supreme Court ruling, but are confident that the Court of Appeal in Amsterdam will dismiss the baseless allegations raised by the Russian Federation, and the arbitral awards will be upheld,” said Tim Osborne, chief executive of GML, the holding company of former Yukos majority shareholders. The Dutch Supreme Court ruled Friday that a lower appeals court in The Hague wrongly dismissed — on procedural grounds — Russia’s claim that “shareholders committed fraud in the arbitral proceedings.”