News (#10 October 2018)


US court dismissed the claim regarding removal of the phrase "In God We Trust" from dollar banknotes

The Court for the Eighth Circuit, Minnesota, dismissed the complaint filed by the group of atheists, who demanded to remove the phrase "In God We Trust" from US banknotes and coins. They pointed out that the presence of this slogan contradicts the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion.

In his decision, the judge referred to the ruling of the Supreme Court of 2014. In that case the plaintiff opposed the traditional saying prayers before opening court sessions in Nebraska. The Supreme Court dismissed the complaint with reference to a deeply rooted tradition.

Judge Gruender pointed out that the phrase quoted on banknotes and coins corresponds to the ideas about the freedom of religion of past generations and does not contradict the legislation.

The phrase appeared on banknotes in the mid-1960s. The reason for this was the decision of the Congress to make "In God We Trust" a national slogan, adopted in 1956. Back then its initiators wanted to emphasize the religious commitment of Americans as opposed to the state atheism in the USSR.


Plaintiff successfully manages to recover penalty for untimely transfer of an apartment in a new building

By the decision of the District Court of Khmelnitsky Region, a penalty of more than UAH 150,000 for violation of terms of the apartment  transfer after completion  of construction was recovered from one of the city cooperative housing societies.

The woman, having filed a claim to the court, specified that she had entered into an agreement with the defendant to pay a share in the cooperative housing society, under which the defendant undertook the obligation to organize the construction of the facility defined in the agreement, namely, a multi-storey residential building with social infrastructure facilities at a specific address, to put it into operation, to transfer the apartment stipulated by the agreement, while the participant (investor) undertook the obligation to fully and timely pay a share and, after the putting of the facility into operation, to acquire title to the apartment.

The plaintiff contributed funds to the developer’s account within the term set by the agreement, but the developer did not put the building into operation, although the parties determined the term — the first quarter of 2016. Therefore, taking into account the established circumstances, the court concluded that the developer violated the terms and conditions of the agreement, so it should be financially liable to the other party to the agreement.

The decision has not come into force yet, the defendant has the right to appeal the court decision in the appellate instance within 30 days.


Vnesheconombank initiates an international investment dispute with Ukraine

Russian state-owned corporation Vnesheconombank, which owns Prominvestbank, has decided to initiate an international investment dispute with Ukraine.

According to VEB, by seizing its subsidiary, Ukraine has violated the interstate agreement on mutual protection of capital investments of 1998.

According to Igor Krasnov, head of the VEB legal department, recovery of compensation for violating the standards of investor’s rights protection provided for in the agreement from Ukraine will be the subject of the claim.

Notice of the dispute has already been sent to Ukraine, and should it not be resolved through negotiations, the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce will consider the dispute.


Ministry of Finance announced details of judgment on “Yanukovych’s debt”

On 14 September the Court of Appeal of England satisfied the appeal filed by Ukraine from the judgment made by Judge Blair, who in March 2017 allowed to consider Russia’s claims to Ukraine on non-payment of Eurobonds for USD 3 billion in an expedited mode.

 “In their unanimous judgment, all three judges of the Court of Appeal of England agreed that the judge in the first instance mistakenly rejected Ukraine’s defence arguments regarding coercion and mistakenly refused to close proceedings if the English court could not consider Ukraine’s arguments regarding coercion,” as was reported by the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine.

The quashing of the previous judgment means that Ukraine now has the opportunity to be provided with proper defense in court. In this regard, the Court of Appeal explicitly stated in its judgment that the UK Government “considered Russia’s actions on the occupation of Crimea and facilitating the rebel fighters in the Eastern Ukraine in confronting the Ukrainian authorities a direct violation of Russia’s obligations under international law, including obligations under peremptory norms reflected in Article 2 (4)
of the UN Charter”.


Gazprom succeeded in lifting asset seizure by judgment of a court in England

An English court has cancelled the order to seize Gazprom’s assets in England and Wales. In turn, Gazprom assumed obligation not to sell, grant or exchange shares of Nord Stream AG.

The dispute is related to contracts for the supply and transit of gas through Ukraine. In early 2018, Gazprom and Naftogaz of Ukraine litigated with each other in Stockholm, and in summer the High Court of Justice of England and Wales seized the assets of the Russian gas company.

Hearings in this case will be held in February 2019. Gazprom may not alienate shares in Nord Stream AG before February 2019.

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