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The Russian government has filed a compensation claim with a French
The Russian government has filed a compensation claim with a French court against Swiss firm Noga for losses caused by the freezing of Russian accounts in France.

The accounts of some Russian organizations, including Russia's Central Bank and news agency RIA Novosti, were frozen in France in January over a 49-million euro ($75 million) claim filed by Noga for outstanding debts under barter oil deals struck with Russia's government in the early 1990s.

"Russia's government has filed a claim against the Swiss company Noga and is demanding compensation for the illegal seizure by the company of Russian assets in France," the country's Finance Ministry said.

"Noga's actions damaged Russia's reputation and economic interests," the ministry's official statement said.

A French court ruled in early May that a Russian Central Bank account held with France's Calyon bank, which was frozen in January following a Noga suit, should be unfrozen.

The decision was followed by a court ruling in Paris on May 16 unblocking RIA Novosti's account in France. The court also ordered the Swiss company to pay 15,000 euros ($23,000) to the Russian news agency.

Since 1993, Noga has repeatedly applied for the seizure of Russian property abroad, including a sailing vessel and military aircraft that were taking part in exhibitions and shows. In 2005 it seized a collection of paintings owned by the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum in an attempt to secure the repayment of debts.


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