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Russia criticizes Switzerland high court ruling on Yukos documents

[JURIST] Russian Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika [official website, in Russian] Monday criticized a recent Swiss high court decision [JURIST report] to block the release of financial information linked to Russian oil giant Yukos [corporate website; JURIST news archive] and the Swiss court's concurrent decision to lift a freeze on Yukos funds as politically motivated. In a news conference, Chaika criticized the decision as disrespectful toward his country and an attack on Russian sovereignty. Russian authorities suspect that Swiss accounts hold money from illegal Yukos deals involving fertilizer, oil, and oil products.

Switzerland's highest court, the Swiss Federal Tribunal [official website, in German], ruled last week that Swiss authorities cannot hand over to Russia financial documents linked to Yukos, finding that Russia's prosecution of former Yukos owner Mikhail Khodorkovsky [defense website; JURIST news archive] and his business partner Platon Lebedev [JURIST news archive] was the result of political persecution. The ruling, which overrides a December decision by the Swiss Attorney General to share the documents with Russia, is final and cannot be appealed. It marks the first time the Swiss court has invoked violations of human rights to reject legal assistance to another state. Reuters has more.

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