Dutch Supreme Court adviser: Reject Russia’s Yukos appeal

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A key legal adviser to the Dutch Supreme Court on Friday recommended dismissing Russia’s appeal against the reinstatement of a $50 billion compensation award to former shareholders of the Yukos oil company.

The Advocate General’s advisory opinion is an independent recommendation to Supreme Court judges who are deliberating on Russia’s appeal; the judges do not have to follow the advice. No date has been set for the court to issue its final decision.

The advice is the latest development in a long-running legal battle between Moscow and former Yukos shareholders united in a company called GML, which launched arbitration proceedings against Russia in 2005.

Nearly a decade later, the arbitration panel ordered Russia to pay shareholders $50 billion in compensation. A Dutch court — ruling in the case because the arbitration happened in the Netherlands — overturned the order in 2016. It said the arbitration panel did not have jurisdiction because the case was based on an energy treaty that Russia had signed but not ratified.

Later that year, an appeals court in The Hague overturned the lower court’s decision and reinstated the compensation order. Moscow then launched its appeal to the Supreme Court.

GML chief executive Tim Osborne welcomed Friday’s advisory opinion.

“We are confident that the Supreme Court of The Netherlands will likewise uphold the Court of Appeal’s ruling,” he said in a statement.