Russian courts continue the practice of imposing stringent interim relief measures for violation of the rules governing investment in strategic sectors


On 16 July 2012, the Arbitration Court of the Astrakhan Region partially satisfied a petition by the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia for securing a claim for invalidation of transactions involving acquisition by a number of foreign companies of shares in OAO Astrakhan Port by virtue of violation of the requirements of Federal Law of 29 April 2008 No. 57-FZ (as amended on 16 November 2011) “On the procedure for foreign investment in companies of strategic significance for defence and security of the state”.

In particular, the court prohibited withdrawal of funds intended for paying dividends to the accounts of OAO Astrakhan Port and other companies in foreign banks and performance of other actions for withdrawing the given funds. The interim relief measures were adopted by the court in development of a previously satisfied petition from the FAS of Russia for prohibiting actions with shares in the Port.

The given court ruling is yet another judicial act confirming the readiness of the judicial instances to apply quite stringent (and possibly excessive) interim relief measures in relation to the activities of strategic commercial entities and their management. It is noteworthy that the wording of the prohibitions in the resolutive part of the given ruling are analogous to the wordings used by the court on the case of OAO VimpelCom (see ruling of the Moscow Arbitration Court on case No. А40-57614/12).

At the same time, the interim relief measures imposed by the court in the OAO Astrakhan Port case are not so all-inclusive (compared to the OAO VimpelCom case). In particular, the court did not prohibit the management bodies from exercising their powers or voting by the relevant shareholders at General Meetings of Shareholders of OAO Astrakhan Port.

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