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Swiss Supreme Court upholds Noga's claim against Russia

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The Swiss Supreme Court in Lausanne has upheld Swiss trading firm Noga's claim against Russia, the country's ATS news agency reported on Thursday.
PARIS, January 24 (RIA Novosti) - The Swiss Supreme Court in Lausanne has upheld Swiss trading firm Noga's claim against Russia, the country's ATS news agency reported on Thursday.

The court ruling rejects an appeal by the Russian government and grants the company a legal claim on the Russian Central Bank's accounts at three Swiss-based banks - UBS, Credit Suisse, BNP Paribas Suisse.

The ruling says that the documents presented by Noga provide sufficient grounds for arresting Russian accounts on Swiss territory.

"The Russian government must pay. They have kept us waiting for 14 years," Noga owner Nessim Gaon was quoted by The Associated Press as saying.

Certain assets of Russian organizations, including accounts held by Russia's Central Bank and news agency RIA Novosti were frozen in France earlier this month over Noga's 49 million euro ($73 million) claim to secure the repayment of debts under barter oil deals struck with Russia's government in the early 1990s.

RIA Novosti, which is an independent commercial organization, said it will take legal action against Noga to free its assets and will also be filing a lawsuit for damages.

Since 1993, the Swiss firm has repeatedly applied for the seizure of Russian property abroad, including Russian Central Bank accounts in France and a sailing vessel and military aircraft that took part in exhibitions and shows, to secure the repayment of debts under barter oil deals struck with Russia's government in the early 1990s.

Alexander Kogan, a U.S. businessman of Russian origin, told a press conference on January 22 that he repurchased Russia's debt from Noga's four creditor banks in 2006 and transferred it to Russia.

According to Kogan, Noga went bankrupt and ceded Russia's debt, estimated by the Stockholm arbitration tribunal at around $70 million, to four Swiss banks back in 1993.

Lawyers representing the Russian side say that Noga has misled the French judicial authorities, as it no longer has the right of claim under the arbitration ruling.

The lawyers say Noga has ceded its claims to four Swiss banks and that following a series of subsequent re-assignments these claims have been acquired by the Russian side. The powers earlier granted by the four Swiss banks to Noga to demand compensation from Russia have been annulled.

Therefore, according to Russia's Finance Ministry, Noga no longer has any financial or other right to claim compensation under the arbitration ruling pursuant to which Russian assets were frozen in France.

A lawyer for the Swiss firm Noga, Antoine Korkmaz, said on January 17 that a 5% stake held by Development Bank (Vnesheconombank), a Russian state-run corporation, in the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company was among Russian assets frozen in France.

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