18 Mar 2010 14:05

Rosneft says London court seizes some assets, no ban on payments

MOSCOW. March 18 (Interfax) - A London court on March 11 placed a seizure on some of the Russian oil company's assets located in England and Wales as an injunction while certain arbitration rulings are being fulfilled following a plea by Yukos Capital, the company said in a press release.

Rosneft said it considered that the order had no justification and that it would be seeking to protect its interests in court, however the value of the seized assets was not significant to Rosneft's business and would not affect how it honors its commitments.

Rosneft said it was honoring all of its oil and petroleum supply commitments, including exports, in full. It said no prohibitions had been placed on payments for oil supplied in US dollars and that reports to this effect were either somebody's imagination or an act of disinformation.

Rosneft said the former Yukos subsidiary Yukos Capital S.a.r.l. was trying to enforce some arbitration rulings that had been quashed by Russian courts. It said Yukos Capital had filed with a court in the state of New York on February 8, seeking a temporary freeze on payments, however that decision had been reversed once Rosneft had been granted the opportunity to make its own legal.

The same court on March 17 ruled that it did not have the jurisdiction to consider the case because Rosneft did not have any assets in the state of New York, and it gave the claimant 60 days to locate some. The suit will be rejected altogether if no assets are discovered in the state. Rosneft said the New York court had rejected all other lawsuits filed by Yukos Capital.

The International Court of Commercial Arbitration at the Russian Chamber of Commerce (ICCA) in 2006 ruled for Yukos Capital S.a.r.l. in four suits against Rosneft production subsidiary Yuganskneftegaz seeking a total of about 14 billion rubles under four loan agreements. Yukos Capital has petitioned the court in Amsterdam to enforce the ruling.

Arbitration court in Moscow canceled the rulings against Yuganskneftegaz in May 2007 over procedural violations. That ruling was upheld by superior courts in Russia.

The court in Amsterdam in February 2009 rejected enforcement of the ICCA ruling in the Netherlands, prompting Yukos Capital to file an appeal in April. Rosneft appealed with a higher Dutch court on June 29.

Yukos Capital has petitioned the New York Federal District Court to uphold the ICCA and Amsterdam appeals court rulings, and the court in February decided to seize $419 million in Rosneft property and cash funds in the state of New York. Court papers say the seizure could apply to funds from oil contracts. But the papers also say that Rosneft has no property or bank accounts in the United States and has never sold oil, petroleum products, gas or other products inside the U.S. Any oil and petroleum products shipped from Russia to the United States are shipped by tanker on FOB terms, when the right of ownership to cargo passes to the buyer during lading.