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In a major legal defeat for the Russian government, a Dutch appeals court on Tuesday reinstated an international arbitration panel’s order that it should pay $50 billion compensation to shareholders in former oil company Yukos.

The ruling overturned a 2016 decision by The Hague District Court that quashed the compensation order on the grounds that the arbitration panel did not have jurisdiction because the case was based on an energy treaty that Russia had signed but not ratified.

The Hague Court of Appeal ruled that the 2016 decision “was not correct. That means that the arbitration order is in force again.”

“This is a victory for the rule of law. The independent courts of a democracy have shown their integrity and served justice. A brutal kleptocracy has been held to account,” Tim Osborne, the chief executive of GML, a company made up of Yukos shareholders, said in a statement.

The Russian Justice Ministry said in a statement after the verdict that Russia will appeal. It charged that the Hague appeals court “failed to take into account the illegitimate use by former Yukos shareholders of the Energy Charter Treaty that wasn’t ratified by the Russian federation.”

The arbitration panel had ruled that Moscow seized control of Yukos in 2003 by hammering the company with massive tax claims. The move was seen as an attempt to silence Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin.

The 2014 arbitration ruling said that Russia was not acting in good faith when it levied the massive claims against Yukos, even though some of the company’s tax arrangements might have been questionable.



Federal appeals court judges said they were “deeply troubled” that a Georgia municipal court jailed a woman when she couldn’t pay a fine for driving without insurance.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of Ziahonna Teagan’s claims that her civil rights were violated, but said she could pursue a false imprisonment claim against the city of McDonough, news outlets reported.

“We are deeply troubled by what happened to Ms. Teagan in the McDonough municipal court,” the unsigned opinion says. “She, like all other citizens of that city, deserved better.”

After Teagan pleaded not guilty in December 2013, Judge Donald Patten found her guilty during a bench trial in March 2014. He imposed a $745 fine for driving without insurance and a $50 fine for arriving late to court.

Teagan told the judge she couldn’t immediately pay the fine but would be able to pay just over a week later. Patten sentenced her to serve 60 days in jail, suspending the sentence on the condition that she pay the total amount within nine days.




The World Anti-Doping Agency wants a rare public hearing for sport’s highest court to judge a four-year slate of punishments faced by Russia for persistent cheating.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport is preparing a hearing expected within weeks for the blockbuster case in Switzerland.

“It is WADA’s view and that of many of our stakeholders that this dispute at CAS should be held in a public forum to ensure that everybody understands the process and hears the arguments,” the Montreal-based agency’s director general, Olivier Niggli, said in a statement.

Urged on by President Vladimir Putin, Russia’s anti-doping agency, known as RUSADA, is formally challenging a WADA ruling in December to declare it non-compliant after key data from the Moscow testing laboratory was corrupted.

The CAS panel of three judges will have power to enforce WADA-recommended sanctions including a ban on Russia’s team name, flag and anthem at Olympic Games and world championships.

WADA also wants Russian athletes to compete as neutrals at the Olympics and major events only if they pass a vetting process which examines their history of drug testing and possible involvement in lab cover-ups of positive tests.

CAS hearings can be opened to media and public observers in some cases when both parties consent.

The court held its first public hearing for 20 years in November when WADA appealed a ruling by swimming’s world body not to ban China’s three-time Olympic gold medalist Sun Yang for alleged doping rule violations.



A  key accuser in the New York City rape trial of Harvey Weinstein broke down in tears on the witness stand on Monday during an exhaustive cross-examination over the nature of her relationship with the once-powerful movie mogul.

The drama, which prompted the judge to send the jury home about an hour earlier than usual, came as the defense sought to paint the 34-year-old woman as an opportunistic manipulator who took advantage of Weinstein while pursuing an acting career, even after he allegedly raped her.

The woman said she tried to make Weinstein "my pseudo father" after a rough upbringing. She said she sent him flattering emails and kept seeing him because “I wanted him to believe I wasn't a threat."

“I was afraid of his unpredictable anger," the woman testified.

She became emotional while reading an email passage about being abused earlier in her life. It was part of a lengthy confessional email she sent to her then-boyfriend in May 2014 about her relationship with Weinstein. She was bawling as she left the courtroom, and her cries could be heard from a nearby witness room.

She returned after about a 10-minute break, but continued to weep loudly, resting her head on the witness stand and blotting tears with a tissue. The lead prosecutor tried to console her, but she couldn't continue. Her cross-examination will resume Tuesday.



A motorcyclist cited for turning his license plate upside down because he thought “it was cool” has lost another bid to rescind a traffic ticket he received.

In a ruling issued Tuesday, a state appellate court determined that the ticket and the $139 penalty Scott DiRoma received in municipal court were both justified. The ruling upheld a decision issued by a Somerset County judge.

DiRoma was driving his motorcycle in Warren Township in June 2018 when he was stopped by a police officer who noticed his license plate was mounted upside down. DiRoma told the officer he liked the way the plate looked and “wanted to be different,” authorities have said.

A municipal court judge eventually imposed a $106 fine and $33 in court costs after DiRoma was found guilty of violating a state law mandating that license plates be kept clear and distinct.

DiRoma appealed that decision, arguing that the law doesn't prohibit an upside-down license plate on a motorcycle because lawmakers drew a distinction between motorcycle and automobile plates. He also claimed the law is unconstitutionally vague.

The county judge, though, found that lawmakers did not intend for drivers to mount their license plates upside down because it would impact law enforcement's ability to protect the public on roadways.

In rejecting DiRoma's claims, the appellate court ruled an upside-down plate on any type of vehicle causes the reader to view characters in reverse order, which would lead to confusion, doubt, and mistake. That would clearly impede law enforcement’s ability to perform its duties, the judges wrote.


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