Sept. 20 - Europe's top human rights court ruled that Russia had violated the rights of former Russian oil firm Yukos but had not misused legal proceedings to destroy it and did not rule for the demands of $100 bln in compensation. Hayley Platt reports.
Russia violated the rights of the now defunct oil firm Yukos - a top court has declared. The European Court of Human Rights ruled Moscow had unfairly forced Yukos into bankruptcy in 2006 and jailed a number of its top executives. Russia claimed Yukos owed $33 bln in back-tax charges - which led to the break-up of the company and its eventual take over by the state. The firm's former directors say Moscow's actions were politically motivated, driven by then President Vladamir Putin's quest for power at their expense. Former CEO of Yukos oil, Steven Theede gave his reaction to the ruling. (SOUNDBITE) (English) STEVEN THEEDE, FORMER CEO OF YUKOS OIL COMPANY, SAYING: "It wasn't the tax that forced the company to fail, it was the prevention, the inability of Yukos to pay that tax because of the freezes on all of our assets. So that was really a very key part of the whole Yukos story and as a result we are very, very pleased with the rulings that have come out today." The court found Moscow had violated the rights of Yukos and didn't give it enough time to prepare a case. Piers Gardner was in court representing Yukos. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PIERS GARDNER, BARRISTER, REPRESENTATIVE OF YUKOS OIL COMPANY AT THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS, SAYING: "The enforcement breached Yukos' rights precisely because the authorities failed to give regard to the implications for Yukos and Yukos' survival." Mikhail Khodorkosvsky was Russia's richest man at the time and boss of Yukos. He was arrested in 2003 and sentenced to 13 years in prison. Speaking from jail on Monday Khodorkosvsky told Reuters if "Vladimir Putin remains in power, hopes for reform will be extinguished and Russia's brightest people will emigrate in droves." Moscow has denied charges of wrongdoing. But former Yukos executives want $100 billion in compensation, which they want given to former shareholders. The court didn't rule on their demands but agreed the jailing of former management - including Khodorkovsy was wrong. Hayley Platt, Reuters.