On 8 November 2017 the General Court of the EU confirmed the annulment of restrictive measures in the form of financial sanctions, which were wrongly imposed by the Council of the EU against our client Yuriy Ivanyushchenko in 2015 and 2016.
These sanctions were imposed in the wake of the fall of the Yanukovich government in Ukraine in 2014. In 2015 Mr Ivanyushcehnko instructed this firm to launch legal proceedings at the General Court of the EU against the Council of the EU.
Earlier this year we secured our client’s removal from the sanctions list without the need for a hearing. This was a significant victory for our client and meant he was no long subject to the sanctions. However, notwithstanding that, we pressed ahead with the legal challenge in respect of the historic renewal of the sanctions against our client in 2015 and 2016.
The Council of the EU tried to argue that our client had no interest in continuing the proceedings, as he was no longer on the sanctions list at the time of the hearing.
However, the court agreed with us that although successful litigation in this forum could not remedy the material harm caused to our client by the unlawful imposition of restrictive measures, it could nevertheless bring a modicum of rehabilitation to his public reputation.
In its judgment the General Court held that the Council of the EU had relied upon manifestly inconsistent and inaccurate information provided by the Ukrainian authorities to justify his inclusion on the sanctions list and in light of these flaws and the exculpatory evidence presented by our client they should have sought clarification from the Ukrainian authorities. The Court confirmed that the imposition and renewal of sanctions had a negative impact on Mr Ivanyushchenko, particularly on his reputation as a businessman in Ukraine.
This case was a shocking example of the Council of the EU’s willingness to rubberstamp requests for sanctions against individuals at the request of a third country. Despite being presented with clear evidence that fundamentally undermined the Ukrainian prosecutor’s assertions the Council continued to blindly accept all it was told.
The judgment is significant as it now opens the door to a substantial claim to damages against the Council of the EU for the harm caused to our client as a result of the unlawful imposition of sanctions against him.
The application to the General Court was handled by Roger Gherson and Thomas Garner who instructed Brian Kennelly QC and Jason Pobjoy of Blackstone Chambers. The team continues to be instructed in several other sanctions cases, which are before the General Court of the EU.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.