Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!

Belgium Moves to Seize Russian Assets in Yukos Case

A group of former Yukos shareholders has called in bailiffs to investigate 47 organizations based in Belgium, with a view to seizing any Russian state assets they might own

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Belgian bailiffs are investigating 47 organizations to see if they possess any assets belonging to the Russian state, it was reported on Wednesday. The proceedings are reportedly a prelude to the seizure of Russian-owned properties in relation to the $50 billion Yukos case. The organizations have been given two weeks to cooperate.

Isle of Man-based Yukos Limited is said to have hired the bailiffs on its behalf, with the intention of seizing the assets. The company is owned by former shareholders of the OJSC Yukos Oil Company, which was broken up by the Russian authorities due to unpaid taxes. Tim Osbourne, head of group of former Yukos shareholders that initiated the case for compensation in The Hague, reportedly confirmed to that asset seizure is the company's intent.

The attempted asset seizures come following a July 2014 judgement by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague that awarded Yukos Universal Limited $1.8 billion in damages. The court ruled the OJSC Yukos Oil Company, once owned by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was “the object of a series of politically motivated attacks.”

Russian authorities rejected the decision, saying the court had disregarded the widespread tax fraud Yukos was convicted of. It said at the time the ruling was part of the West's retribution over its stance on the conflict in Ukraine. Since then, Russia's Ministry of Justice has said “preventative measures” would be taken to avert the confiscation of Russian assets, and that the decision would be challenged in national courts.

But Marc Sacré, Stefan Sacré & Piet De Smet, a Belgian law firm representing the former Yukos shareholders, said in a letter that Moscow had displayed “systematic failure to voluntarily follow” international legal judgments.

Numerous organizations have been targeted by the bailiffs, including several Russian companies, a branch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Eurocontrol (the European air traffic agency), and a number of international banks. Diplomatic assets such as embassies are exempt, Kommersant reported.

Image credit: punainenkala via

Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Anyone is free to republish, copy, and redistribute the text in this content (but not the images or videos) in any medium or format, with the right to remix, transform, and build upon it, even commercially, as long as they provide a backlink and credit to Russia Insider. It is not necessary to notify Russia Insider. Licensed Creative Commons

Our commenting rules: You can say pretty much anything except the F word. If you are abusive, obscene, or a paid troll, we will ban you. Full statement from the Editor, Charles Bausman.

Add new comment