Belgium unblocks seized Russian accounts

Jun 22, 2015, 4:35 AM EDT
People walk by the Yukos oil company headquarters in Moscow in this July 8, 2004 file photo.
AFP/Getty Images/File

Russian state accounts frozen by Belgium in a move condemned by Moscow have been unblocked, Belgium's foreign minister says.

The assets were seized in a move triggered by a court ruling over the now-defunct Yukos oil firm, according to the BBC.

In July 2014, an international arbitration court said Russian officials had manipulated the legal system to bankrupt Yukos. Yukos was then taken over by a Russian state firm.

Its former boss, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was also jailed.

Last year a court told Russia to pay Yukos shareholders $50bn (£32bn) in compensation, after Yukos's break-up.

But Russia does not acknowledge the court's findings, leading former Yukos shareholders to get Russian state assets frozen.

Responding to the asset seizure, Russia's President Vladimir Putin said he would "defend our interests by the route of justice".