* Kolomoisky funded anti-Russian fighters in eastern Ukraine
* Loss of airport has cost him $15m, according to media
* Court must decide if it has right to hear merits of case
(Adds details, context)
By Thomas Escritt
AMSTERDAM, Jan 6 A Ukrainian businessman has
filed a complaint against Russia in The Hague, saying he was
unfairly deprived of his right to operate a passenger airport in
Crimea after Russia annexed the peninsula in March 2014.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration said on Wednesday that it
had agreed to consider the case, which was brought a year ago by
Igor Kolomoisky, one of Ukraine's richest men, and Aeroport
Belbek LLC, against the Russian Federation.
Kolomoisky's company held a contract to operate a passenger
terminal at Crimea's Sevastopol International Airport until
2020. He wants Russia to compensate him for income lost after he
was deprived of use of the facility.
Kolomoisky has estimated his losses linked to the airport,
near Belbek in Crimea, at $15 million, according to Ukrainian
media reports. The claimants say Russia breached a bilateral
investment treaty with Ukraine.
Co-founder of the banking chain Privatbank, Kolomoisky has
interests in energy, media, aviation and metals. While governor
of the industrial Dnipropetrovsk region, he took firm action
against pro-Russian separatism, arming and financing local
militia groups and volunteer battalions.
Moscow says the court has no jurisdiction over the matter
and that it will not participate in proceedings, according to a
statement by the court. The court will now decide if it does
have jurisdiction to hear the merits of the case.
The court of arbitration, most of whose proceedings are held
in closed session, first made the case public on Wednesday. In
2014, it made a $50 billion award against the Kremlin to
compensate former shareholders in defunct oil company Yukos.
It is currently hearing proceedings brought against China by
several of its South East Asian neighbours over the
geopolitically sensitive South China Sea dispute.
(Reporting by Thomas Escritt, additional reporting by
Alessandra Prentice in Kiev; Editing by Richard Balmforth)