Two brands of vodka. After fifteen years of judicial battle, the shareholders of the former oil company Yukos inherit a meager reward : the input of both companies, the state of Russian vodka (" Stolitchnaïa " and " Moskovskaïa ") in the netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Not what will triumph.
On paper, yet, they hit the jackpot. A sum dizzy : $ 50 billion plus $ 7 billion of interest. All to be shared between five partners. The five former partners of the ex-tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky today in exile in London. A small group managed to get a compensation record for the "illegal expropriation" of Yukos, once the flagship oil tanker of the country. It is in February that the court of appeal of The Hague, to finally give a reason. Confirming an award of the permanent court of arbitration in 2014. Champagne ?
also Read Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a fate Russian
Not so fast. Mid-may Moscow counter-attack and decides to bring the case before the Dutch supreme court. "It represents a year and a half or two years additional, admits the lawyer, Emmanuel Gaillard of the law firm Shearman and Sterling, in charge of the defence of the former shareholders. But we will be able to resume our operations on the seizure of property of Russian in different countries. "
As it is a certainty that Russia will refuse to pay. Especially a bill equivalent to almost 20 % of its budget. To better protect themselves, she's even planning to introduce the principle of the supremacy of national laws on international standards in its new draft Constitution.
The case dates back to the early 2000s. Vladimir Putin comes to power and intends to put the not the oligarchs likely to finance the opposition. Among them, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the owner of the company Yukos, bought for a handful of dollars in the privatisation suspicious of the era of Boris Yeltsin. Khodorkovsky is struggling. It recruits managers foreign. Modernizing the deposits. Hold on to western standards. And provides almost 20 % of the national production of oil. Valued at $ 30 billion, Yukos sharpens the appetites. The american Exxon and Chevron are negotiating even an entry the majority in the capital. Putin sees red. As the oligarch continues to distribute envelopes to attach to the favors of deputies of the state Duma. In 2003, during a meeting in the presence of Putin, Khodorkovsky is taking on the corruption within the regime. "Mr. Khodorkovsky are you in good standing with the tax department ?" he retorted Putin. This is the beginning of the troubles. Khodorkovsky is arrested and sentenced following a series of show trials. He spent ten years in a camp in siberia. Meanwhile, Yukos disappears. Carved up and swallowed by Rosneft, an oil group in the hands of Igor Setshin, the former private secretary to Putin.
Khodorkovsky, has sold his shares to his former bandmates brought together in a holding company called GML. They are the actors of the judicial saga in progress. The most important is called Leonid Nevzlin, 60 years old, a refugee in Israel since 2003, at the time ranked among the top 100 fortune global.
Except that, for the time being, none of them sees the color of his money. Moscow, it is true, uses all means to exhaust them. First, in disputing each decision of justice. In April 2016, the Russian party manages to cancel the arbitral award.
She is also active on another field : to prevent any seizure of his property. A law yet open to the shareholders of GML. Example ? France. Two hundred requests for seizure of assets belonging to the Russian Federation there are registered trademarks. Among these, the field of the orthodox church of the quai Branly in Paris, of Russian securities held in the Euronews channel and will be in the operator Eutelsat. Not to speak of the debts due by Arianespace to Roscosmos, the manufacturer of the launcher Soyuz. - A total of 800 million euros. In vain.
diplomatic Pressure, threats of retaliation from French companies present on Russian soil... Moscow gets the sinking of the folders. Including on the case of the parisian buildings affected by foreclosures. The Russian agents are quick to affix plates mentioning their belonging to the Russian embassy. The bit, therefore, untouchable.
at the same time, the French Parliament made the game of Moscow. And amends the law Fir, complicating the measures of execution against the property of a foreign State. The shareholders of GML makes the weapons. In 2017, they drop their lawsuits in France. "We wanted to dedicate all our forces to the reinstatement of the arbitral award. Without this, it was difficult to convince States to act against Russia, " said lawyer Emmanuel Gaillard.
Read also the Case of Yukos : trial-to-50-billion coming to Paris
now that that's done. In principle, the former Yukos may initiate procedures of seizures in 158 countries. They may have already spent between 100 and 200 million dollars in fees to lawyers, they say they are ready to start a new marathon of justice. Even if you need to retrieve alcohol brands...