By Natalia Datskevych.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague has ordered Russia to pay $159 million in compensation to 18 Ukrainian companies and one individual for property seized after Russia’s occupation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea.

The decision, issued on May 10, is the first ruling on compensation issued against Russia in the wake of its 2014 invasion and subsequent occupation of the Ukrainian peninsula. Russia claims to have annexed the territory, but this has only been recognized by a dozen-or-so states, such as Cuba and North Korea.

It is expected that the Russia will appeal against the court ruling.

The main plaintiffs were Everest Estate LLC, the builder of an apartment complex in Gurzuf and a hotel in Yalta, and radio company Zhisa, which was previously part of the 1+1 Media holding.

Some of the companies have been linked to Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky. According to the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine, Everest Estate was associated with PrivatBank, which was previously owned by Kolomoisky.

Two other companies, Dyries and Dilayn Ltd., which were also among the plaintiffs and owned land in Alushta and Foros, had as end-beneficiaries Kolomoisky and Gennady Bogolyubov, another Ukrainian oligarch.

Another plaintiff, the Energetik Sanatorium, belonged to Kolomoisky as well.

In 2014, the Russian occupation authorities in Crimea started the “nationalization” of the assets of Ukrainian-owned private companies. The assets were confiscated by force and placed on a list of property in Crimea that was no longer considered to be Ukrainian-owned.

More than a year-and-a-half later, on Dec. 28, 2016, the Russian occupation authorities in Crimea passed a law stipulating a procedure for reimbursing Ukrainian owners for the “nationalization” of their assets.

However, it does not apply to individuals against whom criminal cases have been opened in Russia, especially those accused of crimes of extremism.

In Russia, Kolomoisky has been accused of murder and using of prohibited methods of warfare.

The Russian occupation authorities in Crimea therefore declared that Kolomoisky would not receive any reimbursements for the seizure of his property.

Subsequently, the Ukrainian billionaire sued for $2 billion in compensation from Russia for the “nationalization” of more than 100 of his assets in Crimea.

The main asset seized by the Russian occupation authorities was the PrivatBank network in the peninsula, with its 39 branches, 359 ATMs and 557 payment terminals.

Furthermore, a network of 32 gas stations in Crimea, Belbek airport, and a tank farm in Sevastopol, which Kolomoisky co-owned with Alexander Annenkov, a former deputy minister of transport of Russia, were “nationalized” as well.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration located at The Hague in the Netherlands.
Photo by Facebook/Permanent Court of Arbitration

Source: Kyiv Post

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