Minority shareholders of the Ukrnafta oil company have filed a complaint against Ukraine at the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce. Businessman Ihor Kolomoiskyi announced this to reporters in Kiev on Wednesday, 22 July, the Interfax Ukraine news agency reports.
"Firstly, it is not a court but arbitration. Secondly, it is not only in England but also in Stockholm. Thirdly, arbitration does not like it when comments on these processes are made in the press," he said.
"The Stockholm [arbitration complaint] involves gas and the English [arbitration complaint] involves the rights of shareholders," he said.
Asked whether the amount involved was USD 5 billion, Kolomoiskyi nodded. The businessman refused to disclose further details of the arbitration complaint.
As reported previously, three Cyprus-based companies – the minority shareholders of Ukrnafta – demanded USD 5 billion from Ukraine as compensation for the actions of the government and the Naftogaz of Ukraine national energy company in a letter sent to Ukraine’s Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Volodymyr Demchyshyn in January 2015.
In the letter, the Cyprus-based companies claimed that Ukraine restricted Ukrnafta’s right to sell their remaining gas freely on the market during the period of 2006-2014 despite the relevant court decisions.
Naftogaz of Ukraine owns a 50% stake plus 1 share in Ukrnafta and companies linked to shareholders of PrivatBank own about 42%.
An agreement on cooperation and mutual understanding was signed between the state and the minority shareholders, who collectively own more than 90% of the shares in
Ukrnafta, in January 2010. This agreement stipulates that Naftogaz of Ukraine is to delegate six representatives to the supervisory board of Ukrnafta and minority shareholders five. It also stipulates that the board chairman of Ukrnafta should be elected at a meeting from candidates nominated by minority shareholders.
On economic policy, the two parties agreed, among other things, to act in a way that ensures that exercise of their corporate rights does not cause damage or pose the threat of harming the rights of other parties.
Under the agreement, any dispute arising in connection with this agreement should be resolved exclusively by the London Court of International Arbitration.