In an article published in the French edition of Vanity Fair, the renowned US magazine goes over the steps that led to Shearman & Sterling’s victory in the arbitration brought by the majority shareholders of former Yukos Oil Company against the Russian Federation in relation to the expropriation of their assets in the company.
In a spy-novel tone, the article narrates the “endless” and “thrilling legal battle” fought by partners Emmanuel Gaillard and Yas Banifatemi to secure the “staggering” US$50 billion award against Russia, from the initial call in the fall of 2003 to the Tribunal’s decision in 2009 to uphold jurisdiction and the issuance of the historic award in July 2014.
The article also highlights the strategy deployed by Gaillard and Banifatemi which allowed their clients to prevail. Against the background of the arrest and imprisonment of Mikhail Khodorkovski and the wide range of measures adopted by the Russian authorities over a period of 4 years to bankrupt Yukos and appropriate its assets, Gaillard and Banifatemi and their 20-lawyer team engaged in an intensive fact-tracking mission and successfully established that those measures effectively expropriated the firm’s clients. The case also involved arguing complex issues of international law, including the grounds on which the Russian Federation was bound by the Energy Charter Treaty despite its non-ratification of the Treaty. The 10-year case culminated with 5 weeks of merits hearings held in The Hague.