Beleaguered shareholders of Yukos could scarcely have imagined when they launched arbitration in 2005 they would one day be awarded $50bn in damages – nor that the ruling would be released into the febrile atmosphere that exists between Russia and the west today.
The award is a landmark not just for its size – 20 times the previous record for an arbitration ruling. The tribunal also found definitively that Russia’s pursuit of Yukos and its independently-minded main shareholder, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a decade ago was politically motivated.
But what is really disturbing is this final quote found in the article:
But if Russian state businesses find themselves hit both by western sanctions and attempts to seize assets by Yukos shareholders, relations between the Kremlin and the west could sour further.
One person close to Mr Putin said the Yukos ruling was insignificant in light of the bigger geopolitical stand-off over Ukraine. “There is a war coming in Europe,” he said. “Do you really think this matters?”
The Financial Times turns to a source allegedly close to Putin, who explains to the paper why Russia doesn’t seem to care too much about either the size of the settlement or about the damage to its reputation that this settlement will cause. One person close to Mr Putin said the Yukos ruling was insignificant in light of the bigger geopolitical stand-off over Ukraine.
“There is a war coming in Europe,” he said. “Do you really think this matters?”
I haven’t been following the Yukos drama, but I have been following Ukraine, along with various escalations and provocations. But now this highly placed Russian has come out and said what everybody sort of already knows, and what’s even crazier is that the FT has printed it.
I think we’re going to Mars.