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US court blocks German bank from lending money to Russian gas company?

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posted on Dec, 19 2004 @ 02:42 PM
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This story seems a little confusing to me.

A consortium of six Western banks, including Deutsche Bank, ABN Amro, BNP Paribas, Calyon, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein and J.P. Morgan, were set to lend Gazprom a $13.4 billion credit line.

This has apparantly been postponed because if the banks lend money to Gazprom, they risk facing legal charges on U.S. territory after a restraining order was announced by a U.S. bankruptcy court on the property of Yukos Oil Company.

MosNews
As MosNews reported earlier, a Houston court placed a 10-day temporary restraining order, forbidding the auction on Sunday, Dec. 19, of a controlling stake in Yuganskneftegaz, the main production subsidiary of Yukos. The restraining order was specifically placed on Gazprom and the consortium of Western banks.

According to the information provided by Russias Itar-Tass agency, which quoted high-ranking Western financial sources, the consortium made a decision to freeze the credit deal with Gazprom at least until a final decision is made by the Houston court.


A subsidiary of Yukos is set to be auctioned off and lawyers in Washington who represent Yukos shareholders have said that if Gazprom wins the auction they may take legal action to seize Gazprom's gas exports. They've even suggested suing Germany's Deutsche Bank for assisting Gazprom.


If as widely expected Gazprom wins the auction on Sunday, legal action to seize its gas exports "is one of the alternatives," a US lawyer acting for the shareholders' holding company, Group Menatep, told journalists in Moscow.

"The defendant can be the Russian government, the tax ministry, Gazprom, or any company that will facilitate the auction," Sanford Saunders, from Washington law firm Greenberg Traurig, added. (link)


How do US courts and US lawyers have this much say over what happens to a Russian company and how can they interfere with loans to a competing company who is looking to purchase it's assets?




posted on Dec, 19 2004 @ 02:50 PM
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Well, it all hinges on jurisdiciton. If there are assets in the US, then no problems with jurisdiction. If the deal is to be done in the US, then no problems here again. Again, if the proposed deal is to be substantially performed in the US, the US Courts have jurisdiction to stop it.



posted on Dec, 19 2004 @ 03:08 PM
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Originally posted by dixon
Well, it all hinges on jurisdiciton. If there are assets in the US, then no problems with jurisdiction. If the deal is to be done in the US, then no problems here again. Again, if the proposed deal is to be substantially performed in the US, the US Courts have jurisdiction to stop it.


Everything I've seen says it is taking place in Russia, not the US.

The court said that since around 15% of the Yukos stock belongs to U.S. investors, the judge found that her court had jurisdiction to rule. (link)

Sounds like BS to me.
They should have no right to stop loans to a company who wishes to purchase the assets of Yukos just because US shareholders own a part of Yukos.

It seems as though it was initiated by Yukos itself by I still son't see how that happened.

xinhuanet
Russian embattled oil giant Yukos Wednesday made a filing in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, in an attempt to stop the auction of its major asset Yuganskeneftegaz.

The US court on Thursday ordered a 10-day halt to the planned sale of Yuganskneftegaz to allow the embattled oil firm time to seek a permanent injunction.

The Russian authorities insist on handling the matter under Russian law, noting that the US court ruling has no legal effect in Russia as Russia and the United States have no bilateral agreement on mutual recognition and execution of court rulings.


Anyway, it looks like the sale went through today anyway.
A company called Baikal Finance Group won the auction.
www.mosnews.com...



posted on Dec, 19 2004 @ 03:21 PM
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The government can stop American companies from taking part in any action they choose. Just like how America can prevent companies from doing business with a nation like Iran.

America doesn't like what's happening with Yukos. If American companies are giving a loan to another company that may take part in it, we can stop it. If that company taking part has assets in America, we have authority over them.



posted on Dec, 19 2004 @ 03:34 PM
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Originally posted by Disturbed DelivererIf that company taking part has assets in America, we have authority over them.


Doesn't that means that the Saudis and the French can intervene in US business mergers or purchases by claiming jurisdiction?

I don't think this is a good idea.



posted on Dec, 20 2004 @ 03:26 AM
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Jurisdictional issues are always touchy. They almost invalriably involve the prioritisation of sovereign rights.

Take for example, China just passed the Anti Secession Law, which outlaws and prohibits Taiwan from claiming independence. From the Taiwanese point of view, that law is pure BS. From the Chinese point of view, it is perfectly legal to pass whatever laws they wish to pass and no one can tell them not to.

America has its own laws governing trade and business with countries deemed as "enemies" or "undesirables".

It can be perfectly allright for someone in let's say the Counrty of Malawi to trade with Bin Ladin. If the US Attorney General knows of this, then he would file a complaint in the American Courts and thereafter Interol would get involved. If there are extradition treaties, then hey, Mr Malawi citizen is in real trouble.

Take the ridiculous case of Bobby Fischer. He's still stuck in Japan, on an Interpol warrant. issued at the request of the US Attorney General and awaiting extradition proceedings.

But, jurisdiction is only the 1st layer.

There is another layer which the Courts look at "forum non conveniens" ; this means even if the Courts have jurisdiction, it would not be a convenient forum to hear the dispute.

Here, we then go into issues of locality of witnesses, governing laws, costs, time and expense ; ie. is another jurisdiction better suited, in the interests of justice, to hear the matter ?

So, in this case, the injunction is purely a temporary order. The issue of "forum non conveniens" has not been argued and decided on.

But, hey, as it appears, the Russians have told the American Court to put it where the sun don't shine. So, till the next time.....



posted on Dec, 20 2004 @ 07:18 AM
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The Yukos thing with the dubious US court ruling and the VERY dubious RUSSIAN Baikalinvest is a perfect example of how big money leads to dirty politics all the way to the top.

At times like that you really get to see the meaning of the word "demockcracy"

[edit on 20-12-2004 by Countermeasures]



posted on Dec, 20 2004 @ 10:23 AM
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Hey the US owns the planet, see? Its their turf, see? They can do what the @!$% they like, see?

This is just another example of the US overstepping their mark, and no one willing/able to put them in their place.

15% is enough for jurisdiction, eh? Methinks the court would make the same choice at 0.00001 %.



posted on Dec, 20 2004 @ 11:30 AM
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Doesn't that means that the Saudis and the French can intervene in US business mergers or purchases by claiming jurisdiction?


They probably could if they had reason. It might not be such a good idea for them to piss off America, though.



posted on Dec, 20 2004 @ 01:25 PM
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Disturbed Deliverer,

You would be surprised at the cases before the European Court in Brussels.

In the late 80s and early 90s, American and Japanese companies were penalised in Europe for "anti-competitive" practices, which was perfectly lawful in America (at that time) but in contravention of the law of the European Community (many observers protested that it was motivated by protectionism on a European scale).

So, looks like everyone is quite guilty of trying to use localised legal mechanisms to affect foreign interests.



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