5 Mar 2010

Yukos begins $US98b claim against Russia

12:54 pm on 5 March 2010

The European Court of Human Rights has begun hearing a complaint from collapsed Russian oil company Yukos against the Russian government.

Yukos first faced accusations of tax fraud in 2002 and was ultimately liquidated in 2007.

But the company claims that it was "targeted" by the Russian authorities and illegally driven out of business.

Yukos representatives first filed the claim with the ECHR in 2004. The BBC reports they are seeking $US98 billion in compensation.

Founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky was jailed for eight years in 2005 for tax evasion and other offences.

Russian authorities began pursuing Yukos in 2002, accusing it of creating shell companies to hide revenue from the tax authorities. The company struggled to survive after facing a series of tax demands totalling $US27 billion.

It eventually had its assets frozen and was forced to sell its shares in other companies.

Yukos was declared insolvent in 2006 and was liquidated the following year.