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Co-Chairs Welcome Ruling Recognizing Russia is Bound by Energy Charter Treaty

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) and Co-Chairman Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) welcomed this week’s decision by an international arbitration panel in The Hague that recognized the Russian Federation is bound by the Energy Charter Treaty.

The Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) signed by 53 nations, was established in 1994 to protect international energy agreements.

The Tribunal ruled Nov. 30 that GML Limited, the former majority shareholder of Yukos Oil Company, once Russia’s largest privately owned oil company, is able to bring its case against the Russian government to reclaim expropriated assets of up to $100 billion.

“This international arbitration decision is an important step for Russia in promoting investor confidence, investment protection, corporate transparency and adherence to international treaties,” Chairman Cardin said. “It is also significant in encouraging broader confidence in free markets and adherence to the rule of law.”

“It is important that Russia honors its obligation and treaties in order to be a reliable partner in the international community,” Co-Chairman Hastings said. “The Russian Federation, like other nations bound by treaty obligations, must abide by legal verdicts and processes regardless of whether they win or lose.”

The Tribunal’s decision demonstrates that Russia’s earlier decision to withdraw from provisional application of the treaty has had no bearing on the case because GML Limited filed their claim before Russia’s withdrawal. The arbitration proceedings will now proceed on the merits of GML’s claim to determine if Yukos assets were illegally expropriated and if shareholders should be compensated.

“The Commission, which has been following this case, was pleased to see the Russian Federation participate in the arbitration process thus far and we expect them to do so in the future,” Chairman Cardin said.

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