There has been a victory for the Russian government in the Yukos affair.
Former shareholders of the defunct Russian oil giant have been told that $50 billion (44 billion euros) they were awarded as compensation for the loss of the company is not valid.
They intend to appeal against the decision.
A Dutch court in the Hague decided to overturn an international tribunal’s arbitration ruling because Russia had never ratified the international agreement under which the compensation was awarded.
Under the earlier ruling the Yukos shareholders had asked governments to seize Russian state assets around the world.
Russia’s lawyers intend to try to reverse asset seizures in Belgium and France. “The arbitral award has been set aside in the country where it was made, which means that enforcement has to be stopped worldwide,” said Albert Jan van den Berg, Russia’s lawyer before the Dutch court.
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former owner of Yukos, was imprisoned for alleged tax fraud after he fell out with Russian leader Vladimir Putin and his company was sold off to cover fines.
State oil company Rosneft took over most of its assets.