Naftogaz serves Gazprom with order to freeze assets in UK
Naftogaz Ukrainy has served Gazprom with an order to freeze assets in England and Wales that was issued by the Commercial Court in London on June 18, 2018 to enforce the Stockholm arbitration award, whereby Gazprom owes Naftogaz $2.6 billion, Naftogaz said in a press release on Wednesday.
The court has scheduled a hearing on the order for July 6, 2018. In the meantime, Gazprom is obligated to maintain assets in England and Wales equal to the value of the transit award, Naftogaz said.
"In addition to freezing assets, it requires Gazprom to provide Naftogaz with a list of all assets with a value greater than $50,000 located in England or Wales," the company said.
Naftogaz has also notified the London offices of 17 banks doing business with Gazprom that they may not facilitate any reduction in Gazprom's assets in England and Wales. Banks that fail to comply could be penalized, it said.
"The English court ruling was made in full knowledge of a temporary decision made on June 13, 2018 by the Svea Court of Appeal in Stockholm to suspend the enforcement of the transit award," it said.
On June 17, 2018, Naftogaz filed a pleading in the Stockholm court requesting that the court reverse its decision. In its request, Naftogaz submitted evidence refuting Gazprom's allegations that the award had not been drafted in a proper manner.
"Naftogaz is confident that the Stockholm court will rescind its suspension decision in light of our submission. Despite media reports to the contrary, the Swedish court ruling does not suspend the award itself, it only suspends enforcement in Sweden," Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolev is quoted in the press release as saying.
It is up to the courts of each individual country to determine, under its own national laws, whether the Swedish ruling suspends the enforcement of the award in such country, he said.
"The Transit Award remains valid, and interest continues to accrue and we will seek enforcement in jurisdictions where enforcement is an option," he said.
Gazprom reported on Tuesday it was aware that Naftogaz Ukrainy is undertaking actions in the UK on the enforced recovery under the arbitration ruling.
"These actions are being taken counter to the order of the Svea Court of Appeal suspending execution of the ruling," Gazprom said in a statement.