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 Yuriy Ivanyushchenko in 2015 and 2016.
These measures had been in place since 2014. In 2015 Mr Ivanyushcehnko launched legal proceedings at the General Court of the EU against the Council of the EU.
On 4 March 2017, after two years of representations from his lawyers, the Council of the EU removed Mr Ivanyushchenko from the sanctions list. Mr Ivanyushchenko’s legal challenge to the imposition of the sanctions had not yet been heard by the Court.
The hearing took place in May 2017 and focussed on the renewal of restrictive measures by the Council of the EU in 2015 and 2016.
The Council of the EU argued that Mr Ivanyushchenko 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 held that although successful litigation in this forum could not remedy the material harm caused 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 of the EU 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 Mr Ivanyushchenko 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.
Mr Ivanyushchenko is delighted that the Court has finally acknowledged that there was no basis to include him on the sanctions list and intends to aggressively pursue damages from the Council of the EU for the harm these sanctions have caused over the last three years.
Ivanyushchenko's Ukrainian legal team was led by Ralph Isenegger and Konstantin Balandin. The application to the General Court was handled by Roger Gherson and Thomas Garner of Gherson solicitors and Brian Kennelly QC and Jason Pobjoy of Blackstone Chambers. They have been instructed in the case since April 2015 and today marks the culmination of 30 months of litigation.
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