YUKOS vs. Rusal
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.
On Thursday, January 14th the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) is hearing the case of YUKOS Oil Company v. Russian Federation, the first time in six years of litigation that both sides will meet face-to-face in a legal battle on the Russian authorities expropriation of YUKOS and its assets beginning in 2003. Foreign policy and Russian officials have acknowledged that the imprisonment of YUKOS’s CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky was due to political reasons stemming from his support of opposition parties.
Meanwhile, the Rusal continues on its IPO path, even as more doubts about the process have surfaced. Its controlling shareholder Oleg Deripaska continues to be linked to organized crime, was refused a visa to enter the United States on those grounds and has received millions in government money funnelled through Russian state-run Vnesheconombank (VEB), controlled by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
YUKOS’s Mikhail Khodorkovsky is being charged in a second round of trumped up charges while Rusal’s Oleg Deripaska is being rewarded for his cooperation and collaboration with the Russian government, stating publicly that he would transfer Rusal back to the government at any time saying, “If the state says we need to give it up, we’ll give it up.”