On this day, Yukos persecuted a minority shareholder

On this day, Yukos persecuted a minority shareholder

To Khabib Nurgamzayev, an owner of 100 shares, an "information bath" was organized because he had dared to file a claim against Yukos in the Arbitration Court of Moscow. The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on February 21, 2005.

On this day, 17 years ago, on February 21, 2005, a storm erupted in the business press – on the eve, a certain citizen filed a claim to the Arbitration Court of Moscow in which he demanded to deem illegal the actions of the leadership of the company "Yukos-Moskva", which, through the American shell company "Yukos USA Inc”, had organized litigation in the court of the state Texas. Having perceived this claim as an "attempt on Saint Yukos", the press tried to organize to the claimant an "information bath", having decided to expose him, hinting at the malignity of his actions, in order to "completely entangle the situation and to discredit the proceedings in the United States".

(On the litigation in the Court of Texas see also the article “On this day, the Deutsche Bank caught Bruce Misamore in falsifying documents”).

It turned out that the initiator of this litigation was Khabib Nurgamzayev, a minority shareholder from Dagestan and owner of 100 shares of the Oil company Yukos. He argued that the recourse of the Yukos management to the Court in Houston “violates his lawful rights as a shareholder”. The author of the article published in the news outlet “Gazeta.ru”, tried, with great pathos, to convince its readership that this “Dagestan peasant” had filed a claim on “ridiculous bases” and that, in general, such things are nothing else as an “element of dirty corporate wars”.


The business newspaper “Vedomosti” decided to find the claimant and to figure out “why the claimant is interested in the destiny of Yukos”, although he, actually, had tried to defend his rights as a minority shareholder, and had presented his claims in a plea statement.

The newspaper “Vedomosti”, having perturbed claimant’s relatives, found out that he worked as a guard in the company “Dagneft", and that his claim had been composed too flawlessly as if there are in Russia skillful lawyers capable to help to compose a plausible legal reference.

“Judging from the claim”, wrote the newspaper, “this guard of the company “Dagneft" is well versed in Russian and international law. He insists that the decision of Yukos leadership to file a bankruptcy claim to an American court is illegal and violates his rights as a minority shareholder of Yukos. The claimant refers to the "Bankruptcy Law", according to which bankruptcy cases should be considered exclusively by Russian courts even if a company has foreign shareholders and creditors", reported the newspaper stressing the arguments contained in the legal statement. Experts of the news outlet, having known that the claimant is an employee of an affiliate of the company “Rosneft”, started to hint, like, what is behind. And in two days a lot of such “investigations” emerged.

However, the newspaper “Izvestiya” found out that 32 years old Khabib Nurgamzayev from Dagestan, first, has been working for a long time as a bodyguard of Gadgy Makhachev, a deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, second, that he, really, owes 100 Yukos shares, and, third, he has no criminal records.


An effort to create a pejorative attitude to the claimant turned out to be rather characteristic. For a long time, it has been no secret that the PR service of Yukos at once formed, to put it mildly, an intolerable attitude to all those who impinge on the interests of the "most transparent" oil company.

In this case, it was evident even from the commentaries of the respectable lawyers and experts that the news outlet “Gazeta.ru” collected on its pages.

“According to Yuliya Strizhneva, an expert of the All-Russia Association of privatized and single proprietor enterprises, Nurgamzayev, “as a minority shareholder, has the right to go to court. That cannot be taken away from him. But if the majority of other the shareholders of Yukos supports the management filing a lawsuit in Court of Houston, then the arbitration would be forced to decide that the case was filed according to the law”, argued the expert adding that “Nurgamzayev’s claim looks ridiculous”.

“We can think of tens of thousands of demands coming from bodyguards, cleaners, you name them. I am surprised by the imbecility of those who thought it out. The Moscow Arbitration cannot ban a court in Houston to consider a case”, told the news outlet “Gazeta.ru” Yuri Schmidt, a lawyer of Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

“If the Arbitration takes the side of the claimant, then a collision would be created between two legal subjects – Russian and American, and this would need an interference of the arbitral tribunal", said another experts, trying to prophesy the future. In particular, it was pointed out that "attorneys access the "Nurgamzayev’s case” judging from the legal logic, and the experience of the previous one and a half years shows that in Russian courts it doesn’t play any significant role”, and, like, American courts are quite another cup of tea.

However, everything went contrary to the authoritative “assessments and opinions of experts”. The claim was considered by the Arbitration court. The verdict – the Arbitration Court of Moscow held invalid the decision of the management of the company “Yukos-Moskva” from December 10, 2004, on filing a bankruptcy statement in the Federal Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas (Houston).

The further destiny of Yukos complaint on this matter was dismissed, and the court once more confirmed the illegality of the decision of "Yukos-Moskva" to file a claim in an American court, and the newspaper "Vedomosmi” rather briefly reported about it.


"But, there was no need to abandon the claim at all, although this was the main demand. Moreover, there was no need to engage the Arbitration – at that time came the decision of the American Court, which didn't cause any "presaged" dangerous legal collision. The decision was as follows – a court in the United States has the right to work only within the American jurisdiction, but since the main assets of Yukos are on the Russian territory, all litigations are to be carried out in Russia. And, strangely, no one from the "experts" called the decision of the court in the United States "a decision beyond logic" and the lawsuit of Yukos "ridiculous", notes the website Prigovor.ru.

(See also the previous article “On this day, Khodorkovsky interrupted the operation "Voyage". A risky listing in the United States. "Had all machinations been exposed, Khodorkovsky would have faced a jail sentence of some 20 years". The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on February 20, 2003.

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