The Paris court of superior jurisdiction has dismissed the plea of AFPER, demanding from them a compensation of 2.7 billion euros for setting a high credit rating for Russia.
In the AFPER opinion, setting the credit rating for Russia they have displayed neither severity, diligence, nor caution thus making potential creditors to run risks. They, particularly, neglected the information circulated by AFPER in October 1996 that Russia was a debtor on credits received in its time by the tsarist government from French investors.
The court has found the AFPER documents incomplete. It said that in the action, filed on behalf of 4,482 AFPER members, had not been enclosed documents confirming their membership and citing the size of material claims of each.
The court has also found that the AFPER actions against the rating agencies can be viewed as an attempt to do damage. In this connection, the court has obliged the association to pay to the agencies a symbolic 1-euro compensation and pay for the publication of the court decision in the newspapers Le Monde and Le Figaro.
Simultaneously, the court has refused to satisfy the cross-demand of the agencies, whose lawyers insisted on recognising the judicial procedure as across the lines of the legislation.
Present in the Paris Jurisdiction Palace, AFPER members met the verdict with obvious disillusionment. Still, the AFPER president said that the association would continue "by all possible means" to seek the payment of the sums which, in his opinion, Russia owes to the French holders of tsarist bonds.
AFPER actually does not recognise the Russian-French intergovernmental agreements on the mutual settlement of property claims emerging before 1945. On the basis of these documents, Russia has paid to France 450 million dollars, after which a further settlement of tsarist debts became the internal problem of France.
However, AFPER prefers a different interpretation of these documents in the belief that they resolve the question on only the state level, while individuals are still entitled to seek the payment of debts.
AFPER has many times turned to different courts and attempted to seize Russian property in France. These actions have not been crowned with success.