THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) -
The Dutch Supreme Court has upheld part of a Russian appeal against a $50 billion arbitration award to former shareholders of bankrupted oil giant Yukos.
The highest Dutch court ruled Friday that a lower Dutch appeal court wrongly dismissed, on procedural grounds, Russia's claim that "shareholders committed fraud in the arbitral proceedings."
The Supreme Court referred the case to Amsterdam Court of Appeal for judges there rule on that issue.
The judgment Friday rejected other grounds of appeal put forward by Russia.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP's earlier story follows below.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - The Dutch Supreme Court is ruling Friday in a $50 billion legal battle between Russia and former shareholders of the country's bankrupted oil giant Yukos.
If the highest Dutch court rules in favor of the former shareholders in the long-running legal battle, it will likely lead them to attempt to seize Russian assets around the world to recoup the $50 billion they were awarded in an arbitration case - thought to be the world's biggest ever arbitral award.
An international panel of arbitrators concluded in 2014 that Moscow seized control of Yukos in 2003 by deliberately crippling the company with huge tax claims. The move was seen as an attempt to silence Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin.
Khodorkovsky was arrested at gunpoint in 2003 and spent more than a decade in prison as Yukos' main assets were sold to a state-owned company. Yukos ultimately went bankrupt.
The state launched "a full assault on Yukos and its beneficial owners in order to bankrupt Yukos and appropriate its assets while, at the same time, removing Mr. Khodorkovsky from the political arena," the arbitrators said in their 2014 ruling.
Moscow appealed the arbitration decision and a Dutch court in The Hague set aside the ruling in 2016, saying the arbitration panel did not have jurisdiction, but an appeals court later overturned that verdict. Russia appealed again, sending the case to the Supreme Court.
In April, an independent adviser to the Supreme Court recommended that its judges reject Russia's appeal.
Khodorkovsky is not involved in the case, which was brought by former shareholders united in a company called GML Ltd.