The Final Word on Yukos

From the Financial Times on the Yukos trial at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg:

“It is now entirely in the hands of the court. There will be no further pleadings,” said Piers Gardner, lawyer for the plaintiffs, who are led by Steven Theede, Yukos’s former chief executive, and Bruce Misamore, its former chief financial officer. Today’s hearings “ultimately represented the final watershed, the last word.” The plaintiffs say any damages awarded would be distributed to former Yukos shareholders. (…)

“Yukos’ contention is that it fulfilled its responsibilities and paid its taxes as any other taxpayer would throughout the years 2000-2004 and that at the very end of 2003, frankly out of a virtually blue sky, everything changed,” Mr Gardner said. “Yukos argued this was exceptional treatment… a grossly unfair burden on Yukos. This is the balance the court now has to resolve.”

“The question is whether it is ever in the public interest to expropriate a company for pure political motivation,” said Bruce Misamore, Yukos’ former chief financial officer. “In Russia, there is a broader public issue that the expropriation has had a severe negative effect on investment.. on the willingness of companies to invest their money in Russia that was manifested in the severe economic downturn.”