$5 billion for Crimean assets: Naftogaz filed a new lawsuit in The Hague against Russia

To protect its interests, the Ukrainian oil and gas holding turned to a legal company that represented the interests of former Yukos shareholders in a dispute with Russia for $50 billion.
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"Naftogaz of Ukraine" in The Hague sued Russia for $ 5 billion, estimating in this amount "illegal seizure of the group's assets in the Crimea." This is stated in a statement posted on Wednesday, September 20, on the website of the Ukrainian company.

The lawsuit filed by Naftogaz Ukrainy and six of its subsidiaries was filed with the tribunal formed under the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague. In Kiev, it is expected that the decision on the case will be made before the end of 2018.

In order to protect its rights and interests, Naftogaz attracted the international law firm Covington & Burling LLP, which has "significant positive experience in protecting the interests of clients in the proceedings against the Russian Federation and Russian state-owned companies." "In particular, the company represented the interests of the investors of the oil company YUKOS in a dispute against the Russian Federation and achieved a court decision to reimburse $ 50 billion," the statement of the Ukrainian company says.

The lawsuit for assets in the Crimea

The judicial dispute between Ukraine and Russia over assets in the Crimea entered an active phase in June 2015. Then the Ukrainian company initiated arbitration proceedings "in order to obtain compensation for the illegal seizure of gas stations of the company on the territory of the Crimean peninsula."

On January 13, 2016, Ukraine's largest oil and gas producer Ukrnafta filed a lawsuit against Russia in international arbitration in The Hague to protect its investments in petrol stations in the Crimea.

The basis for the appeal to the court of "Ukrnafta" was called a bilateral agreement on the protection of investments between Ukraine and Russia, signed in 1998. By this agreement, Kiev and Moscow assumed the obligation not to nationalize or expropriate the investments invested by investors of the other party, without timely payment of fair compensation.

Together with Ukrnafta with claims to Russia for international arbitration, Stabil, Rubenor, Rustel, Novel-Estate, Kirovograd-Nafta, Crimea-Petrol, Pirsan, Trade-Trust, Elefteria, VKF Satek, Stemv Group .

The majority shareholder of Ukrnafta is Naftogaz of Ukraine, which owns a 50% + 1 share in the oil and gas producing company. In February 2016, Naftogaz sent an official request for consultations and negotiations with representatives of Russia in order to resolve the dispute within the framework of the current agreement on mutual protection of investments. "If the dispute is not resolved through negotiations, Naftogaz intends to forward it to arbitration," the press service of Naftogaz then stressed.

Negotiations lasted six months, but did not bring results. October 17, 2016 initiated arbitration proceedings against Russia "Naftogaz" and its "daughter". Then Naftogaz estimated the damage to the group at $ 2.6 billion, explaining that it was the property of the parent company, Chernomornaftogaz, Ukrtransgaz, Ukrgazvydobuvannya, Ukrtransnafty, Gaza Ukrainy and Liqvo.

The case is under consideration at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. In early January 2016, Reuters reported that the Arbitration in The Hague accepted the lawsuit filed by Ukrainian billionaire Igor Kolomoisky (No. 1795 in the rating of the richest people in the world according to the American Forbes, a fortune of $ 1.1 billion) to Russia. Kolomoisky filed a lawsuit a year earlier, demanding compensation for lost revenue from the work of the passenger terminal of Belbek airport in Sevastopol.

Kolomoisky was appointed airport operator until 2020, but after the Crimea joined Russia in 2014, the airport was nationalized. As Reuters wrote with reference to the Ukrainian media, Kolomoisky estimated his losses at $ 15 million

After the change of power in Kiev in February 2014 as a result of confrontation on the Maidan and the displacement of President Viktor Yanukovych, in Crimea and Sevastopol on March 16, 2014 a referendum on reunification with Russia was held. About 96% of those who participated in the voting voted for reunification with Russia. Turnout in the referendum was more than 80%.

On March 18, 2014, President Vladimir Putin signed an agreement on the entry of Crimea and Sevastopol into Russia. On March 21, 2014, it was ratified by the Federal Assembly. The new government of the peninsula nationalized the property of Chernomorneftegaz and Ukrtransgaz. The assets of both companies entered the authorized capital of the new Crimean republican enterprise Chernomorneftegaz. Ukraine does not recognize Crimea as part of Russia.

The dispute between Naftogaz and Gazprom

Ukrainian Naftogaz is also suing Russia's Gazprom over the gas supply contract signed in January 2009 by the former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and Vladimir Putin, who at that time headed the Russian government. In June 2014, both companies filed counterclaims at the Stockholm Arbitration Court. In one case related to the contract for the purchase and sale of gas, Naftogaz demanded to reimburse the "overpayment" for gas purchased from May 20, 2011 to October 2015, in the amount of $ 14.1 billion (including fines and penalties - $ 17, 9 billion). Another lawsuit concerns the conditions for the transit of gas through the territory of Ukraine. The total amount of claims of "Naftogaz" to "Gazprom" reached $ 26.6 billion.

Gazprom wants to pay unpaid bills of $ 2.9 billion and pay for undelivered gas under the "take or pay" condition for $ 42.8 billion (including fines and penalties).