The former major shareholders of the Russian oil company Yukos are bringing the trademark rights of eighteen vodka brands in the Benelux to the auction. The rights, including the well-known brands Stolichnaya and Moskovskaya, will go under the hammer on 6 December in The Hague. The former shareholders announced this on Wednesday. The trio of former Yukos shareholders has been engaged in a protracted legal battle with the Russian state for years. That revolves around the bankruptcy of the oil company in 2006. According to the shareholders, the Kremlin deliberately drove Yukos towards bankruptcy, with the aim of eliminating the then chairman of the board Mikhail Khodorkovsky – a political opponent of President Putin. Shareholders were right The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled in favor of shareholders in 2014, and decided that the Russian state should pay them $50 billion in compensation. Including interest, this amount has now risen to more than 58 billion dollars (58.9 billion euros). Last year in November, the Supreme Court largely confirmed the ruling, although the matter was referred back to the Amsterdam Court of Appeal on one point. For that reason, Russia has not yet proceeded to pay compensation. Russia systematically refuses to comply with the verdict In June, the Court of Appeal in The Hague ruled that the former Yukos shareholders could seize the trademark rights of a number of vodka brands owned by the Russian state. Those rights are now under the hammer. “The Russian Federation systematically refuses to comply with the verdict and has not responded to invitations to reach a settlement,” the former shareholders wrote in a press release. “This leaves the former shareholders no choice but to enforce the verdict by seizing Russian state property.” It is difficult to estimate how much the rights will yield, according to a spokesperson. “That very much depends on the amount and the type of parties that will report.” According to the auction house , interested parties must make a deposit of 250,000 euros in advance, to demonstrate that they are serious. The Russian government has not yet responded to the proposed auction. During previous sessions that revolved around controlling the vodka brands, the country was assisted by lawyers from the Amsterdam office Hoyng Rokh Monegier, but the defense dropped its defense in March after the Ukraine invasion. The Houthoff office, which assisted Russia in many matters, also stopped providing services to the country. A disciplinary court ruling in August showed that Russia has since failed to find a new office to assist the country in Dutch lawsuits. The dean in The Hague was therefore obliged to assign a lawyer to Russia. A version of this article also appeared in the newspaper of October 6, 2022