Russia has accused a Hague court of political bias after it ruled that it should pay $50bn (37bn euros) in damages to the defunct oil giant Yukos.
Moscow lawyers say an appeal will be launched against the decision which is the biggest compensation package ever.
The claim was filed by a subsidiary for the financial holding company GLM, once the biggest shareholder in Yukos Oil Company. They insist the award cannot be disputed.
Emmanuel Gaillard, the GML shareholders’ lawyer said: “The Russian state apparatus launched a full assault on Yukos and its beneficial owners in order to bankrupt Yukos and appropriate its assets, while at the same time removing Mr. Khodorkovsky from the political arena. Not my words, those of the tribunal.”
State-owned Rosneft which swept up Yukos assets says all the deals were legal and anyway the court doesn’t have jurisdiction to consider the matter.
Getting the money could certainly be a problem particularly as Russia sees the ruling as part of its argument with the West over Ukraine.
Veronika Krasheninnikova, Head of the Centre for International research and initiatives agrees: “Definitely, it is a political decision. It is an unprecedented decision and most probably it is part of economic and political sanctions against Russia.”
On Thursday the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is due to announce its own separate decision on Yukos’s multi-billion-dollar claim against Russia.
Former Yukos boss Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was jailed by Russian President Vladimir Putin for alleged fraud and only released after 10 years, has not been involved in the case.