News (#3 March 2020)


International Court of Justice obliged Russia to pay USD 50 billion to YUKOS shareholders

The Dutch Court of Appeal has revoked the decision adopted by the court of the lower instance to cancel USD 50 billion payment to shareholders of the now defunct Russian oil giant YUKOS.

In April 2016, the Hague District Court revoked the decision adopted by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which obliged the Russian state to pay indemnification to the shareholders of the company, which was once owned by Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

The current decision can be appealed in the Supreme Court of the Netherlands.

YUKOS shareholders filed a claim with the International Arbitration in The Hague back in 2005. In 2007, the court drew the conclusion that in the early 2000s YUKOS suffered a large-scale attack in Russia to make the company bankrupt, to seize its assets, and get rid of Khodorkovsky, who was its chairman, from political life. The Dutch court ruling of 2017 is similar to the decision adopted by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, which in 2014 ruled to recover about EUR 2 billion from Russia in favor of former shareholders in YUKOS.

The Constitutional Court of Russia allowed the Russian Federation not to comply with the ECHR ruling by adopting a decision that the relevant ruling of the European Court of Human Rights following the claim filed by former YUKOS shareholders violated the provisions of the Russian Constitution.

Court ordered Google to disclose identity of user who left negative feedback

The Federal Court of Australia ordered Google to disclose personal information of an anonymous user who left a negative comment about the work of a dentist.

Dr. Matthew Kabbabe stated that the user, writing under the nickname CBsm 23, advised to stay away from the dentist and called the received procedure extremely improper and uncomfortable.

The dentist asked Google to remove the feedback and, after being refused, to reveal the identity of the anonymous user, but the company once again declined his request, explaining that there was no sufficient reason to investigate. Kabbabe appealed to a court, which allowed him to file a defamation claim and ordered Google to disclose personal information, including names, phone numbers, locations and IP addresses of all users who may be involved in the publishing of the feedback.

Google has already said it will not comment on any legal issues in this case.

Ukroboronprom won proceedings against Russian company

Ukroboronprom has won the proceedings against a Russian company called Avia-FED-Service in the case against the Artem plant. The Russian company demanded of return almost USD 2.3 million for agreements on the production of dual-purpose goods.

The issue here is agreements concluded by the companies in 2014. The Russian Avia-FED-Service paid an advance to Artem and sought to recover these funds through a Ukrainian court following a decision adopted by the International Commercial Arbitration Court under the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Artem appealed to the court that the Russian company has been under Ukrainian sanctions since May 2018. The plants representatives also noted that fulfilling the order for the company of the aggressor state could threaten national security.

A reminder that the Artem plant is part of Ukroboronprom and is a strategic manufacturer of air-to-air guided missiles, automated complexes for preparation and maintenance of aviation guided weapons of destruction, anti-tank guided missiles, as well as devices and equipment for aviation aircraft.

Deposit Guarantee Fund wins Ukrinbank case

The Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court, which considered a claim by Ukrincom to acknowledge it the successor to the bankrupt Ukrinbank, refused to uphold the claimant.

The Supreme Court specified that bankrupt banks could not be returned to the market without a relevant decision from the National Bank of Ukraine.

Following the ruling by the Grand Chamber, the courts decision to terminate insolvency is not a reason to suspend the temporary administration operations or to stop the banks liquidation procedure, as conducted by the state-run Deposit Guarantee Fund. Moreover, the Chamber concluded that courts of lower instances could not revoke NBU decisions on withdrawal of banks from the market solely on the basis of procedural violations.

This court decision is crucial for proceedings pending between the National Bank of Ukraine, the Deposit Guarantee Fund and banks that have previously obtained court decisions that the NBU had declared them insolvent unlawfully.

Tesla granted permission to cut down forest at plant construction site in Germany

On 15 February the Supreme Administrative Court of Berlin-Brandenburg ordered the suspension of tree felling on the outskirts of Berlin, where American electric car manufacturer Tesla planned to build its first Gigafactory plant in Europe, for the period required for the appeal against the court decision, which was filed by activists, to be considered.

Tesla is building a large plant in Grunheide and plans to start producing electric vehicles in 2021. Following criticism from environmental groups, the company has already announced various measures to relocate wildlife from the affected areas. Tesla must relocate forest ants, reptilians and five bats from the area. The car maker has also promised to hang 400 birdhouses to mitigate the affect of forest devastation on bird habitats.

However, on 20 February the Supreme Administrative Court of Berlin-Brandenburg rejected urgent claims filed by two environmental associations stating that the authorities had no right to grant Tesla permission to clear the forest, which the company has already started. The courts ruling is not subject to appeal.

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