April 11, 2014 (TSR) – Firtash gas company is suing Ukraine for USD$ 130 million for blocking the sales of gas produced by Karpatygaz according to local Ukrainian media reports.
“Ukraine faces a major lawsuit in the gas industry since the time of the RosUkrEnergo case. In summer of 2010, the company, owned by Dmytro Fitrash and Russian Gazprom, has sued Naftogaz for 12.1 billion cubic meters of gas in the Stockholm arbitration, worth about USD 3 billion. Now, 298 million cubic meters of gas is at stake, worth about USD 130 million,” a statement reads.
In particular, the major shareholder of Karpatygaz – Swedish company Misen Energy AB – argues that since August 2013, Naftogaz has refused to include natural gas, extracted by Karpatygaz, in the gas balance. Because of this, the company could not sell gas and earn money, which, in turn, led to serious financial problems.
“At the beginning of 2014, 298 million cubic meters were in storages, belonging to Karpatygaz, of the market value reaching USD 130 million. If by mid-July the parties fail to resolve the dispute peacefully, the case may be in international arbitration, the company said in the notice, sent to the Ukrainian government a few months ago,” the report says.
Misen Energy is a public Swedish company, but despite this its final beneficiaries are not known, almost 80% of the company belongs to the Cyprus offshore, behind which, according to media sources, Firtash stands. Management Group DF denies a relation between Firtash and Karpatygaz.
March 12, Firtash has been arrested in Austria on request of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, which suspects him of bribery and conspiracy. Investigation into his case started since 2006. He was later released on bail of EUR 125 million. Extradition to the U.S. waits for him.
Firtash was not listed by the European Union among an original group of Ukrainians accused of misusing state funds and violating human rights during the Euromaidan antigovernment protests in Kyiv.
Individuals named on that list had their assets frozen in a number of EU countries, including Austria.
Firtash is one of Ukraine’s richest men and has close links to Russia.
He made his money in the gas, chemicals, media, and banking sectors and was a key backer of recently ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
Firtash was one of the owners of RosUkrEnergo, a gas-trading company that served as the intermediary in gas dealings between Russia and Ukraine.
He also controls much of the titanium business in Ukraine.
Firtash is considered to be one of the leading investors in energy and chemicals in Eastern Europe.
Within his Group DF company, he has business assets in Ukraine, Estonia, Tajikistan, Germany, Italy, Cyprus, Switzerland, Hungary, and Austria.
Firtash was alleged to have given financial support to the political party of Ukrainian opposition leader Vitali Klitschko, a charge the former world boxing champion denied.
Former Ukrainian Prime Minster Yulia Tymoshenko filed a lawsuit against Firtash and RosUkrEnergo in a New York court for “defauding Ukraine’s citizenry by manipulating an arbitration hearing,” a reference to a 2010 international arbitration ruling in Stockholm that ordered Ukrainian state energy company Naftogaz to pay RosUkrEnergo billions of dollars worth of oil.
Firtash has also been accused of being involved in the jailing of Tymoshenko, who was released from prison last month.
Ukraine to sue Russia
Meanwhile, Ukraine is going to sue Russia at the international level, particularly in the Stockholm arbitration, due to gas contracts of 2009.
Ukrainian Energy and Coal Industry Minister Yuriy Prodan said this in parliament on Friday,Ukrinform reported.
“This work [on the submission of a lawsuit to the Stockholm arbitration under a gas contract with Russia of 2009] has been going on from the first day I assumed this post [as energy minister],” Prodan said.
He said that the Energy and Coal Industry Ministry was carefully preparing the relevant documents and revising the disadvantageous conditions that currently exist in the contract between Naftogaz and Gazprom of 2009.
“We are attracting international lawyers who have the experience of work with companies that filed claims with the Stockholm court against Gazprom. These issues did not reach arbitration – Gazprom settled these issues with European countries through amicable agreements,” the minister said.