On May 30, Swiss bailiffs conducted a property inventory at the office of Nord Stream AG, the operator of the Nord Stream gas pipeline, through which Russian gas is delivered to Germany, Tass reported, citing its sources. According to them, the visit of the bailiffs to the office of Nord Stream AG in Zug was held as part of the execution of the decision made by the Stockholm Arbitration Court, which debated the dispute between Gazprom, which owns 51% in Nord Stream AG, and Naftogaz of Ukraine.
This was confirmed by representatives of Gazprom and Nord Stream AG.
Without official notification
Gazprom learned that Naftogaz of Ukraine is taking action in Switzerland to enforce the decision of Stockholm Arbitration on February 28, 2018 in the case of a transit contract, a Russian company representative told reporters. According to him, "Gazprom" at the moment has not received any official notification under this procedure.
Nord Stream AG received an order to impose interim measures on May 29, it was issued within the framework of the decision of the Stockholm Arbitration, the representative of the company said. According to him, this will not affect the project Nord Stream 2 - the gas pipeline, which Gazprom and its European partners plan to send to Germany along the bottom of the Baltic Sea. The
On February 28, the Stockholm Arbitration partially satisfied Naftohaz's claims against Gazprom and ruled that the Russian company should pay the plaintiff company $ 4.63 billion for gas shortage under the transit agreement; taking into account Naftogaz's debt for the gas supplied, the amount of payments will have to be $ 2.56 billion. Gazprom did not agree with the arbitration award and on May 28 filed an appeal against the Svea County Court in Sweden. According to the representative of the monopoly, most of the decision of Stockholm arbitration was written not by an arbitrator, but by some third party.
At the same time, Gazprom has reserved the entire amount of a $ 4.63 billion fine in its accounts. Kiev, in turn, began arresting Russian assets in the republic, and Gazprom, after unsuccessful negotiations with the Ukrainian partner, sent a statement to Stockholm Arbitration about the termination of contracts with Naftogaz.
What does Gazprom have in Europe?
In addition to its stake in Nord Stream AG, Gazprom owns shares in various joint ventures with European partners, the largest - 50% in WIGA Transport Beteiligungs-GmbH & Co. KG. KG (WIGA); this is a joint venture with the German BASF, among whose assets are shares in European gas pipelines, says S & P analyst Elena Anankina. Companies are not traded, and it is impossible to adequately assess the cost of these shares, she says.
According to Gazprom, the book value of its stake in Nord Stream AG is 436.5 billion rubles. (about € 6 billion), in WIGA - 266 billion rubles. (€ 3.6 billion), but these are formal figures, the analyst says. According to Anankina, it is unlikely that the bailiffs will have to sell assets to pay $ 2.6 billion - Gazprom has the necessary money on the accounts. The most liquid asset is gas in Europe, intended for European consumers, the analyst adds.
Gazprom also owns Swiss Nord Stream 2 AG, which will build Nord Stream-2, while the Russian monopoly pledged all of its 100% stake to European partners - Shell, Wintershall, OMV, Engi and Uniper.
Priority in respect of mortgaged property belongs to the mortgagee, therefore the possibility of arresting these shares will be considered in accordance with the national legislation of each country, said Alexander Pakhomov, managing partner of the Criminal Code "Law and Business". According to him, the collection of these shares will not give Ukraine anything - it is obvious that Nord Stream-2 can only be realized with the participation of Gazprom.
What threatens the Russian concern
The decision of the Stockholm Arbitration takes effect immediately after the decision is made and is subject to execution by the parties without delay, says Pakhomov. According to him, the appellate court, in the presence of such powers, could suspend the decision of the arbitration court before the decision on the complaint was made, but such a suspension in the case of Gazprom and Naftogaz was not reported. The appellate instance can revoke the arbitration award only in case of serious procedural violations in the proceedings, but such cases in international practice are a rarity.
The decision of the Stockholm arbitration takes effect immediately, but its enforcement in other jurisdictions is possible only after passing the stage of the national contest - in this case, the decision of the Svea district court, Art de Lex lawyer Artur Zurabyan explains. But the court can impose interim measures in support of the future implementation of the decision of international commercial arbitration, such an institution exists in Russia, and for its application the decision of the district court of Svea is not required, the lawyer notes.
The subsidiary company is not responsible for the debts of the parent company, so they do not have the right to arrest the property and accounts of Nord Stream AG, Pakhomov said. But Swiss companies often maintain a register of shareholders themselves, in which case bailiffs could come to arrest Nord Stream shares, argues the lawyer. Perhaps the bailiffs were looking for Nord Stream's obligations in favor of Gazprom, they can also be subject to arrest in the execution of the arbitration award. In addition, the bailiffs may arrest the building of the Nord Stream AG office if the company rents it from Gazprom, Pakhomov concludes.
Bailiffs may arrest any property of Gazprom, but this will not be as effective as the arrest of shares of subsidiaries - the most liquid asset, says Zurabyan. According to him, this will be painful for Gazprom, since it jeopardizes the whole project. In case of asset seizure, Gazprom may not be waiting for a court decision in Svea district, and try to appeal the relevant order in a Swiss court, Alexander Parent Advice Group partner Alexander Zakharov concludes.
Decisions of the Stockholm arbitration can be executed in more than 150 countries of the world, concludes Alexander Pakhomov.