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    French court unfreezes RIA Novosti account, orders compensation

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    A court in Paris ruled on Friday to unfreeze RIA Novosti's account in France and ordered Switzerland's Noga to pay 15,000 euros ($23,000) in compensation to the Russian news agency.

    PARIS, May 16 (RIA Novosti) - A court in Paris ruled on Friday to unfreeze RIA Novosti's account in France and ordered Switzerland's Noga to pay 15,000 euros ($23,000) in compensation to the Russian news agency.

    "RIA Novosti has been recognized as a legal entity separate from the Russian government, so it should not be liable for its debts," the judge said.

    A French court ruled last Tuesday that a Russian Central Bank account held with France's Calyon bank, which was frozen in January following a Noga suit, must be unfrozen.

    Some assets of Russian organizations, including accounts held by the CBR and RIA Novosti, were frozen over a 49 million euro ($75 million) claim by the Swiss trading firm to secure the repayment of a debt accrued under barter oil deals struck with Russia's government in the early 1990s.

    Since 1993, Noga has repeatedly applied for the seizure of Russian property abroad, including a sailing vessel and military aircraft that were taking part in exhibitions and shows. In 2005 it seized a collection of paintings owned by the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum in an attempt to secure the repayment of debts.

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