Naftogaz wins appeal in Slovak Constitutional Court within IUGAS case
The Constitutional Court of Slovakia has satisfied the complaints of NJSC Naftogaz Ukrainy about the violation of its rights to a fair trial, recognizing that the company incurred unreasonable costs in the framework of enforcement proceedings in the republic.
The press service of the company clarified that the matter concerns enforcement proceedings, which have been carried out in Slovakia since 2017 on the initiative of Italia Ukraina Gas S.p.a. (IUGAS) and its successor Trameta kft (Hungary) in order to recover from Naftogaz a fine of $12.7 million and interest on the final decision of the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce dated December 19, 2012.
At the same time, within the framework of the compulsory execution of the arbitral award, the Slovak bailiff seized the Naftogaz gas imported through the territory of the republic.
The press service noted that numerous abuses by the bailiff within the proceedings led to the artificial formation and accumulation of Naftogaz's debt in the amount of about EUR22 million for the alleged storage of the previously seized natural gas, although neither the executor nor the custodian company provided any or documentary evidence of the fact and the cost of its storage.
"The decision of the Constitutional Court of Slovakia in favor of Naftogaz has come into legal force and is not subject to appeal. With this decision, the Constitutional Court overturned the decision of the District Court of Bratislava II on the obligation of Naftogaz to reimburse the costs of the alleged gas storage in the amount of more than EUR11.5 million. Thus, the district court of Bratislava II is obliged to reconsider the complaints of Naftogaz regarding the illegal and unfair accrual of executive expenses," the company said.
Naftogaz's lawyers have already prepared an application to the Bratislava District Court with a petition to reconsider the issue of the validity and legality of gas storage costs and will submit it in the near future.
According to Naftogaz, these enforcement proceedings became the largest in the history of Slovakia.
Naftogaz recalled that the fine was awarded by the Stockholm Arbitration Tribunal following a dispute over a contract for the supply of 13 billion cubic meters of gas during 10 years at a fixed price of $110/1,000 cubic meters, which was signed in 2003 with IUGAS at that time by the deputy head of the Naftogaz board Ihor Voronin. At the same time, Voronin signed the agreement without the necessary approvals, and Italian citizen Marco Marenco, who owned IUGAS at the time of its conclusion, was later convicted in his homeland for fraud and tax evasion.