Federal Administrative Court: Russian Rosneft may sue the federal government

The Federal Ministry of Economics had called for the Rosneft lawsuit to be dismissed.

Federal Administrative Court: Russian Rosneft may sue the federal government

The Federal Ministry of Economics had called for the Rosneft lawsuit to be dismissed. The court initially rejected this. The presiding judge, Ulla Held-Daab, said that the possibility of various rights of the plaintiffs being impaired by the actions of the federal government is definitely a possibility.

The lawsuit was heard by a Russian company in the group and a Luxembourg holding company - they are each formally the parent company of the Rosneft subsidiaries placed under trust. Judge Held-Daab referred to the Luxembourg seat and the resulting legal protection of the holding company under EU law. The Russian company could possibly claim an infringement of its property.

The Federal Ministry of Economics had classified both companies as not having the right to sue and upheld this in court. The Luxembourg holding company is a "pure mailbox company," said attorney Ulrich Karpenstein. The Russian company, on the other hand, is a state-owned company "which has also been used as an extended arm of the Russian government."

Statements by Rosneft lawyer Betrand Malmendier, according to which the Russian state is not the majority owner of Rosneft, could not convince the court: "We assume state control" of the Rosneft group by Russia, Held-Daab clarified.

The Federal Ministry of Economics headed by Robert Habeck (Greens) had the RN Refining in September

According to the Economics Ministry, both business partners and employees jumped off the Rosneft subsidiaries as a result of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. This threatened the security of supply in Germany.

In view of the import embargo and the prospect of independence from Russian energy imports at EU level, the conversion of the Rosneft plants to non-Russian oil would only be possible with the trust administration, explained the ministry's defenders. For example, Rosneft has no interest in investing in alternative supply routes for the PCK refinery from Rostock or Poland.

Rosneft lawyer Malmendier, on the other hand, criticized the fact that the Federal Ministry of Economics relied on "anonymous information", "diffuse informants" and did not provide any evidence, for example of an impending massive loss of employees. All in all, the current legal system should not be suspended "because of a war that we all very much regret".

The Rosneft lawyers went on to say that the group was ready to switch to non-Russian crude oil. In addition, Russia had reliably supplied oil - until a German embargo came into force at the beginning of this year.

Judge Held-Daab also criticized the embargo: With the order, the federal government went beyond the existing EU sanctions regulations and at the same time had not created a legal basis for an import ban on Russian pipeline oil. References to the embargo could therefore not be evaluated in the assessment of the admissibility of the Treuhand's order.

Should the court reverse the trust administration's order, it would be a severe defeat for the federal government. Further plans, such as expanding the options for expropriations to ensure security of supply, which the Ministry of Economic Affairs is currently working on, would then be on the brink.

Should the court confirm Habeck in his course, the trusteeship of the Rosneft subsidiaries would probably be extended. It was initially limited to six months until March 15th. According to its own statements, the administrative court is aiming for a decision before this date.