The European Court ruled to cancel the sanctions imposed on Ukraine’s former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov in 2015, as the court’s decision says.
“The General Court dismissed his action for annulment of Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/364 of 5 March 2015 amending Decision 2014/119/CFSP concerning restrictive measures directed against certain persons, entities and bodies in view of the situation in Ukraine, and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/357 of 5 March 2015 implementing Regulation (EU) No 208/2014 concerning restrictive measures directed against certain persons, entities and bodies in view of the situation in Ukraine, in so far as they concern him,” the judgment reads.
At the same time, the European Court has not just canceled the decision to impose the sanctions against Azarov, but also obliged the EU to compensate expenses for trial to his Austrian lawyers both during the initial stage of the trial and during the appeal.
“The Court orders the Council of the European Union to pay the costs incurred both in the proceedings at first instance and in the present appeal,” the court called the EU.
The EU Council added Azarov to the sanctions lists, and his assets were frozen since 2014 under the arguments of the-then Ukraine’s Government. According to the European Court decision, the former Prime Minister was deprived of a proper legal procedure.
The Court noted that “the EU Council has to adhere to the basic rights while deciding on the restrictive measures, and this is an integral part of the EU legal order”.
It does not mean that Azarov is excluded from the current sanctions list of the EU, but it gives legal basis for the further lawsuits on sanctions' cancellation.
Earlier, the Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine received permission from the court for the pre-trial investigation of the former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov on suspicion of seizing LNG (liquefied natural gas) for 77,4 million dollars.
In January 2018, the Prosecutor General's Office announced suspicion to the former Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykola Azarov and ex-head of the National Bank Serhiy Arbuzov. In particular, the ex-PM is suspected of illegal embezzlement of particularly large volumes of liquefied gas extracted by PJSC Ukrhazvydobuvannya and PJSC Ukrnafta. It is noted that this caused damage to the state in the amount of 77,4 million dollars.
The EU imposed the sanctions against Ukraine's ex-president Yanukovych and his sidekicks in March 2014 and extends them annually.