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Friday, March 31, 2023

Processes: Rosneft lawsuit: verdict in two weeks at the earliest

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Since September, the federal government has been in charge of the German subsidiaries of the Russian state-owned company Rosneft. The background are the sanctions against Moscow because of the Ukraine war. The owners are fighting back in court.

The Federal Administrative Court wants to decide in two weeks at the earliest whether the trusteeship of two German subsidiaries of the Russian Rosneft group is legal. Before that, the court wants to take evidence on March 7th and possibly also on March 8th. This was announced by the presiding judge Ulla Held-Daab on Wednesday after a day-long hearing in Leipzig.

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The state-controlled Russian oil company Rosneft is suing the trust administration of its two German subsidiaries Rosneft Germany and RN Refining & Marketing. The federal government brought the two Rosneft subsidiaries under its control in September on the grounds that otherwise there would be a risk to security of supply.

The background is the German renunciation of Russian crude oil after Russia’s attack on Ukraine. The Rosneft subsidiaries are majority owners of the important PCK refinery in Schwedt, Brandenburg. In 2022 they were still importing mostly Russian oil via the Druzhba pipeline. According to the federal government, Rosneft had no interest in moving away from it. The German Rosneft subsidiaries also hold shares in other refineries in Germany.

Unlike in many other administrative court cases, the Federal Supreme Court is the first instance in this case. This explains the unusual step of gathering evidence and hearing witnesses. Among other things, the judges want to clarify whether the Federal Ministry of Economics had information in the summer of 2022 that a Russian oil delivery stop could be imminent and that Rosneft could withdraw capital from its German subsidiaries.

Source: Stern

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