Following shortly after the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ordered that the Russian government pay USD 50 billion in damages to former Yukos shareholders (reported on by CEE Legal Matters on July 28, 2014), the European Court of Human Rights has now awarded the shareholders an additional EUR 1.86 billion in damages in a lawsuit filed against the Russian tax authorities.
The court’s ruling was published on July 31, 2014. The damages award is the ECHR's biggest to date. Moscow also has to pay an additional EUR 300,000 in legal costs to the Yukos International Foundation, a Netherlands-based company that houses some of Yukos's remaining assets.
At the same time, the court rejected the Yukos shareholders' claim that the unfair tax proceedings led to the company's liquidation in 2007, ruling that “there was insufficient proof of a causal link between the violation found and the pecuniary damage allegedly sustained by Yukos.”
In a statement, Russia's justice ministry noted that it "does not view this ruling as an example of a fair and unbiased approach to the legal and factual circumstances of the case."
In 2004-2005, the Moscow Commercial Court collected over RUB 300 billion from Yukos in tax arrears for 2000-2004, while dismissing a lawsuit filed by Yukos to invalidate the results of an auction to sell Yuganskneftegaz, an oil producing asset of Yukos, and to award it RUB 388.3 billion rubles in damages. Yukos shareholders filed suit in 2004, claiming that the Russian tax authorities had unlawfully confiscated their property in violation of the articles of European Convention on Human Rights, and demanding USD 98 billion in damages.