Russia condemns freezing of accounts in France and Belgium in $50 billion Yukos case

The Russian government has condemned the freezing of Russian accounts in France and Belgium as part of an effort to enforce a $50 billion judgment for the destruction of the Yukos oil company.

An arbitration court in The Hague ruled last year that Russia must compensate the former shareholders of Yukos, which was destroyed in a politically driven legal onslaught that also sent its chief executive, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, to prison for 10 years.

Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said Thursday that his government would challenge the asset seizures, considering them illegal.

Tim Osborne, director of GML, a holding company created for Yukos' five major shareholders, said the judgment was "rolling out" in France and Belgium, with the expectation that it would continue in Britain and the United States.