Dutch Court Reverses $50 Billion Yukos Ruling against the Kremlin; a Relief for Those Seeking Diplomatic and Economic Rapprochement

A Dutch court overturned an arbitration ruling ordering Russia to pay $50 billion to the former shareholders of Yukos. The ruling was based on a technicality concerning the previous court not having the right to hear the dispute.  Analysts believe that this will result in further claims associated with this award going unenforced, not only within the Netherlands, but elsewhere as well, such as the UK, Germany and the United States.

At the time of the original ruling, the award had the potential to undermine in a serious way East-West relations, as it represented a judicial decision that was deemed relatively outside the lane of political influence.  In other words, there was an automaticity to the collection process that national leaders would have had difficulty controlling, despite the reality that the asset seizures and other collection efforts that would likely have been imposed on Russian state-owned assets had the potential to become a ‘‘‘break‘ issue for Moscow of real consequence.

This ruling is likely a relief to European leaders as well as the Kremlin for this very reason.  It removes a major obstacle to what are likely to be important diplomatic and economic discussions over the coming year concerning Nord Stream 2 and the lifting of Ukraine-related sanctions, for which momentum appears to be building.  That said, Yukos-related cases are still in play in other jurisdictions.