Kremlin: Swedish court "illegally" made Russia liable for damages
Sweden's Supreme Court has "illegally" held the Russian government liable for millions of dollars of damages in a commercial lawsuit and Moscow will ignore the decision, a Kremlin official said Thursday, DPA reported.
The statement by Viktor Khrekov, senior spokesman for the administration of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, came one day after Sweden's ambassador to Russia, Martin Oberg, was called into the Russian Foreign Ministry to receive a note of protest over the case.
Russia's Foreign Ministry said it "strenuously objected" to a recent ruling by the Swedish high court that a Russian diplomatic building in Stockholm should be auctioned off and proceeds from the sale turned over to Franz Sedelmayer, a German businessman who has sued the Russian government for commercial damages.
The Swedish supreme court award "violates all principles of international law ... and treaties signed by Sweden and Russia," Khrekov said, in comments to Interfax.
"We consider the decision illegitimate and we will not fulfil it," he said. "International law supersedes national law."
Sedelmayer has claimed officials in the Russian city of St Petersburg reneged on contracts signed in the early 1990s for planning real estate and security businesses together, and illegally removed a valuable office building from the joint company's assets.
His damage claims were upheld by the Stockholm Arbitration Court in 1998. Russian officials have called the decision unfair.
Sweden's Supreme Court in an early July decision ruled a Russian government-owned building in Stockholm could be auctioned off and the proceeds turned over to Sedelmeyer to cover part of the value of his damages plus interest, which are currently estimated at some 4.7 million dollars.
The building currently is owned and operated by Russia's international trade legation, according to Interfax.