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Russia-Ukraine dispute Swiss arbitrator can rule in Crimea investment case

Federal Court

The Federal Court says a Geneva based arbitrator can rule on claims by twelve Ukrainian companies.


Switzerland’s Federal Court has rejected two appeals by Russia contesting the competence of a Geneva-based arbitrator in a case brought by Ukrainian companies. 

The Swiss arbitrator may now rule on claims by twelve Ukrainian companies whose assets were confiscated in Crimea. 

One of them, which had a network of service stations in Crimea, is claiming $50 million (CHF49.4 million) for expropriation of its property following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. The claims of the other companies amount to a total of $47.4 million. 

The firms’ claims are based on an investment protection agreementexternal link signed by Russia and Ukraine in 1998. 

Moscow argued that the 1998 accord did not apply to investments which were not cross-border at the time they were made. However, the judges of Switzerland’s highest court dismissed this argument by a majority of four to one. 

Russia’s legal costs amount to CHF115,000 for the first appeal and CHF110,000 for the second. Indemnities were also awarded to the Ukrainian companies. 

Since the two sides could not reach agreement, the case was assigned under the rules of the 1998 agreement for arbitration by Swiss jurist Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohlerexternal link, who is based in Geneva. 


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