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Ukrainian Billionaire Suing Russia Over Crimea Airport Contract

Hague arbitration court to consider case brought by oligarch Igor Kolomoisky against Russia -

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague has said it will consider a case against Russia by Ukrainian businessman and sometime politician Igor Kolomoisky who claims he was deprived of his right to operate a passenger terminal at a Crimean airport after Russia annexed the peninsula.

Kolomoisky, one of Ukraine's richest men, and Aeroport Belbek LLC, brought the case a year ago to the court, which said 6 January it would consider the claim regarding his contract to operate a passenger terminal at Crimea's Sevastopol International Airport until 2020, Reuters reports.

The claimants say Moscow has breached a bilateral investment treaty (pdf) with Kyiv, while Kolomoisky has estimated his losses linked to the airport at $15 million, according to Ukrainian media reports, Reuters says.

Five similar claims have been brought by private companies associated with Kolomoisky and a Ukrainian state-owned bank in a claim against Russia arising from the annexation of Crimea, according to the Global Arbitration Review.

Meanwhile, Crimean authorities have failed to auction off Black Sea properties belonging to Kolomoisky that were nationalized, as prospective buyers are frightened by the sanctions regime imposed against Russia, TASS reported.

  • The Hague-based court has 117 member states, including Russia, but Moscow says it has no jurisdiction over the Kolomoisky matter and so will not participate in proceedings, according to the court, which has not yet decided if it has jurisdiction to hear the case’s merits, Reuters says.
  • The Ukrainian billionaire is wanted for questioning in Russia in connection with accusations he was responsible for war crimes. Kolomoisky has in turn accused Russia of crimes against humanity, JTA reports.
  • Kolomoisky is co-founder of the banking chain Privatbank and has interests in energy, media, aviation, and metals. As governor of Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region, he helped arm and finance local militia groups and volunteers fighting pro-Russian separatists, according to Reuters.
  • The court made a $50 billion award against the Kremlin to compensate former shareholders in Yukos, the oil company that was dismantled when its director, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was imprisoned.

Source: TOL

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