Yukos, Russia to discuss $50bn payout

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Moscow - Shareholders of former Russian oil producer Yukos would be willing to discuss with Russia a court's decision to award them $50 billion (R530 billion) in compensation, a spokesman for holding company GML said on Tuesday.

“We have always been ready to negotiate with the other side. GML made many attempts to do so ahead of initiating this arbitration and received no response,” the spokesman said, after the court in the Hague ordered that Russia must pay $50 billion for expropriating the assets of Yukos.

Russia must pay the compensation to subsidiaries of Gibraltar-based Group Menatep, a company through which Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who fell foul of the Kremlin, controlled Yukos.

Group Menatep now exists as the holding company GML, and Khodorkovsky is no longer a shareholder in GML or Yukos.

Tim Osborne, director of GML, has said that the ruling “cannot be disputed”.

Russia, whose economy is on the brink of recession, said it would appeal the ruling by the Dutch-based panel, which judges private business disputes.

Russia has to star paying by January 15 next year or facing rising interests on the fine.

Former Russian presidential adviser Andrei Illarionov has said if Russia avoided payment it could face asset seizures around the world. - Reuters



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