(Corrects figure to $50.02 billion from $51.57 billion)
AMSTERDAM, July 28 An international arbitration
panel in the Netherlands on Monday ordered Moscow to pay $50.02
billion in damages to shareholders in the defunct oil giant
Yukos, saying officials under President Vladimir Putin had
manipulated the legal system to bankrupt the company.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague issued
rulings in three separate cases that had sought a total of over
$100 billion from Russia for expropriating the assets of Yukos,
formerly controlled by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once Russia's
The decision, which followed nearly a decade of hearings,
comes at a time of strained relations between Moscow and the
Netherlands over the downing of a Malaysian airliner carrying
298 passengers and crew, including 194 Dutch citizens.
"Russian courts bent to the will of Russian executive
authorities to bankrupt Yukos, assign its assets to a
state-controlled company, and incarcerate a man who gave signs
of becoming a political competitor," the court said.
A panel of judges, which has been reviewing the case since
2005, said "these have been mammoth arbitrations" with total
claims having reached $114 billion.
The panel concluded that "the primary objective of the
Russian Federation was not to collect taxes but rather to
bankrupt Yukos and appropriate its valuable assets".
Moscow was ordered to pay damages to compensate claimants,
but the tribunal said there was also some fault on behalf of
claimants, which had led to a reduction in the size of the
It said that "officials of the Russian Federation in close
association with President Putin acted in implementation of
the policy of the Russian Federation".
(Reporting by Anthony Deutsch and Thomas Escritt; Editing by
Kevin Liffey/Ruth Pitchford)