French courts caught up in Yukos vs. Russia assets fight

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

PARIS (AP) — The fight between Russia's government and magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky's dismantled Yukos oil company has spread to courtrooms across Europe — and even into space.

The Russian state has won three court cases recently in France that had entangled rocket builders in Yukos' efforts to recover money it says the Kremlin unfairly appropriated. Four more rulings are expected Friday in Paris.

Both sides are watching the French cases closely ahead of a higher-stakes decision in the Netherlands next week, involving a 2014 arbitration ruling ordering Russia to pay ex-Yukos shareholders $50 billion.

Russia doesn't recognize that ruling, so shareholders have tried to seize Russian assets abroad, including in France.

The dispute dates to Khodorkovsky's 2003 arrest on charges of financial wrongdoing seen as a punishment for challenging Vladimir Putin's power.