A Dutch appeals court has ruled that Russia knowingly forced the oil major Yukos into bankruptcy by demanding it pay massive tax bills, the latest development in a drawn-out battle over the now-defunct firm's assets.
The ruling by the Amsterdam Appeals Court on May 9 said that Dutch law could not recognize the 2006 bankruptcy of Yukos, which was broken up after its owner, tycoon-turned-Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was imprisoned on charges he called politically motivated.
Yukos was sold off to state-owned companies, including Rosneft, now one of the world's largest energy companies.
The May 9 court ruling says that the liquidator appointed to sell off Yukos assets in 2007 did not have the right to sell the shares of Yukos Finance BV, a Dutch subsidiary of the oil firm.
Former Yukos CEO Steve Theede said in a statement that the ruling by the Amsterdam court "exposed the extent to which the Russian Federation will go to manipulate the legal process and ignore the rule of law."
The Kremlin has long denied that Khodorkovsky's prosecution was politically motivated.