The Supreme Court of Great Britain ruled in favor of Ukraine in the case of “Yanukovych’s debt” for $3 billion

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Виктор Янукович

The Supreme Court decided that the case should be sent for trial under the full procedure in open session. The case concerns $3 billion in Eurobonds that were issued in December 2013 as a result of Russian coercion.

Russia, in turn, tried to convince the English court by applying an abbreviated procedure and thereby avoiding a detailed examination by the English court of its actions.

“But, in the end, the Supreme Court rejected Russia’s request and rightly recognized that the arguments of Ukraine’s coercive defense line are sound and should be properly examined with an examination of all evidence,” the Ministry of Finance said.

The judges decided that Ukraine should be allowed to defend a coercive claim, but only to the extent that it is based on coercion due to an alleged threat of force from Russia.

Ukraine contends that as a result of Russian threats prior to the Eurobond issuance and acts of both economic and military aggression by Russia, Ukraine was deprived of its right to choose, and as a result of Russian coercion, Ukraine eventually entered into Eurobond agreements.

The Supreme Court at this stage did not consider the facts of Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine, since the appeal hearing “occurred before the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation in February 2022”, but the judge of the Supreme Court noted that the further behavior of the Russian Federation cannot be ignored.

“The Supreme Court noted that Ukraine will succeed in this case unless it is proven otherwise that Russian pressure played no role in Ukraine’s decision to issue Eurobonds,” the Ministry of Finance noted.

Ukraine’s objections that the bonds were issued in violation of Ukrainian law, in particular, bypassing the budgetary restrictions of the established public debt ceiling, were rejected.

Now Ukraine will be able to defend the claim for the payment of amounts on bonds in a lawsuit in the High Court of London. Thus, the case is returned to the first instance, but only on the basis of Ukraine’s arguments about coercion to take a loan.

This means that until the final court decision, Ukraine does not have to pay debt payments.

Ukraine’s position was that the bond issue should be declared invalid due to coercion, or the proceedings should be stopped if the English court felt that it was not in a position to consider the arguments of Ukraine’s defense line.

The English Court of Appeal stated the last position in its decision in 2018. Namely, he granted Ukraine’s appeal against the verdict of the High Court of London, which ordered Ukraine to redeem Eurobonds worth $3 billion and pay interest.

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Back in December 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin and then Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych agreed to provide a $15 billion loan through the placement of Ukrainian securities.

The bonds for $3 billion were placed on the Irish Stock Exchange on December 20, 2013 and bought by Russia.

Subsequently, in 2015, Ukraine agreed on the restructuring of these Eurobonds, but Ukraine did not receive consent from Russia on the restructuring of Eurobonds for $3 billion. The maturity date is December 20, 2015. In December 2015, the Cabinet of Ministers imposed a moratorium on the payment of $3 billion on Eurobonds.

In February 2016, Russia filed a lawsuit against Ukraine in the London High Court for debt recovery, and in May Ukraine filed documents for its defense in this lawsuit.

In its objections, the Ukrainian side pointed out that the borrowing agreement concluded in December 2013 is invalid and not subject to enforcement for a number of reasons.

Among them: violation of domestic legislation and procedures established by Ukrainian regulations when issuing Eurobonds, as well as pressure from the Russian Federation throughout 2013 to prevent Ukraine from concluding an Association Agreement with the EU.

It also provides evidence of Russia’s military invasion of the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the subsequent illegal annexation of the peninsula.

Separately listed actions of the Russian Federation are aimed at destabilizing the situation in the east of Ukraine, facts of support for separatist persons and military operations in this region.