News (#6 June 2018)

Cases

Fox News to pay USD 10 million against employees' claims

The American television channel Fox News will pay about USD 10 million to its former and current employees as compensation for discrimination on the part of the channels management.

Journalists accused Fox News management of horrifying, illegal racial discrimination, as well as creating unbearable working conditions. The management decided not to settle the conflict, after which the victims appealed to a court.

21st Century Fox, which owns the TV channel, concluded a plea agreement with 18 plaintiffs. They will be paid compensation. In return, they will withdraw their claims. Employees who are still working for Fox News will quit, and they undertake to never seek employment in any of the divisions of the TV channel.

Since summer 2016, Fox News has paid USD 45 million to women who accused Roger Ailes, a former head of the TV channel, of harassment and discrimination.

Cambridge Analytica files for bankruptcy

Cambridge Analytica, which was involved in a scandal related to Facebook, has filed a bankruptcy petition. It is noted that on 17 May Cambridge Analytica filed the petition to a court in Manhattan in accordance with Chapter 7 of the US Bankruptcy Code.

Moreover, the bankruptcy petition was filed to the court by the American subsidiary of the parent company SCL Group, which includes SCL Elections (owner of CA).

The documents disclose some figures. For example, it became known that the assets of Cambridge Analytica range from USD 101,000 to 500,000, while its debt obligations are in the USD 1 million to 10 million range.

It was reported earlier that the company plans to cease its operations in the UK and the USA due to a sharp decline in demand for its services and a fall in profits.

As is known, the head of Facebook has already spoken before legislators in connection with the scandal when he testified to the US Congress for ten hours.

The scandal broke after it became known that the British consulting company Cambridge Analytica got access to the data of millions of Facebook users illegally.

Ukrainian millionaire Mykola Lagun to go to court against Belarus

The Ministry of Justice of Belarus will represent the interests of the state in the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington during court proceedings against Delta Belarus Holding B.V.

The ICSID website contains information that the company was founded in 1995 in the Netherlands, but is now considered to be a Danish one. According to Office Life, the main owner of the asset is Ukrainian millionaire Mykola Lagun. The company owned more than 75.5% of Delta Bank CJSC in Belarus. The remaining shares were directly owned by Mr. Lagun.

A reminder that in 2007 the Ukrainian commercial bank Delta bought a 100% stake in Belarus Atom-Bank CJSC. The task was to create a credit portfolio of USD 300 million during three years and to invest up to USD 50 million.

In 2015 bankruptcy proceedings were initiated in a Belarusian court against this bank, and the investigating authorities opened a case on premeditated bankruptcy.

Currently, this CJSC has almost been liquidated. Most of its property is sold, except for two premises in the center of Minsk at the Metropol shopping center and a Citroen car.

It is still unknown what the essence of the claim filed to ICSID is. Lagun's company will be represented by British lawyer Joseph Aaronson.

Court upheld Odessa Oil Refinery Plants nationalization

Kiev District Administrative Court has dismissed the claim filed by Odessa Oil Refinery Plant and Energy and Gas Ukraine LLC on revoking a decision of the Cabinet of Ministers on their transfer under the State Property Fund of Ukraines management.

Earlier, the court ruled that the complexes of Odessa Oil Refinery Plant and
Energy and Gas Ukraine LLC were used under the so-called scheme of Serhiy Kur-
chenko
, a fugitive oligarch, performing the function of fictitious transshipment of oil products, while these products were in fact sold on the territory of Ukraine. This led to the non-payment of more than UAH 2 billion to the state budget, the Prosecutor-Generals Office stressed.

It is noted that due to this, the court ordered the confiscation of all property of enterprises to the State represented by the Cabinet of Ministers.

In its turn, the Cabinet of Ministers transferred the property of Oil Refinery Plant and Energy and Gas Ukraine LLC under the State Property Fund of Ukraines management.

The Prosecutor General's Office reports that despite the existence of the court decision and its coming into force, these companies filed a claim to revoke the Government decision, which in fact challenged acquisition of property rights by the State. However, the court dismissed the claim in its entirety. On 19 June 2017, Odessa City District Court delivered a judgment on asset forfeiture of the Odessa Oil Refinery integral property complex.

Moratorium on sale of land in Ukraine restricts proprietary rights

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has recognized the current moratorium on sale of land in Ukraine a violation of human rights. This is stated in the decision published on the court's website. In particular, the ECHR adopted the related decision in Zelenchuk and Tsytsiura vs. Ukraine.

Applicants from Ivano-Frankivsk and Ternopil, who own land plots (receive a rent in kind and in monetary terms), tried to appeal against the moratorium on the sale of agricultural land. As a result, the ECHR recognized that this moratorium violates proprietary rights.

A key factor in the adoption of the decision was that Ukraine set the task of allowing purchase and sale of agricultural land during creation of the related market. However, the moratorium has been extended several times, which shows a lack of consistent actions on the part of authorities.

The court also took note of the governments arguments that the moratorium is required to prevent impoverishment of rural population, concentration of land in hands of large businesses, including for its withdrawal from cultivation. However, the first argument did not take into account the fact that the applicants lived in the city and did not want to cultivate the land. And the Government could prevent other negative consequences by applying other laws, including those already proposed for adoption.

Moreover, the court emphasizes that the decision is related to the general legislative situation in Ukraine and is not limited to only the applicants. Thus, it recommends the taking of appropriate legislative or other measures to ensure a fair balance between the interests of the owners of farm enterprises and the community. The court also emphasizes that its decision does not require immediate establishment of the land market, and the state is free to choose appropriate measures. A reminder that on 7 December 2017, the Verkhovna Rada extended the moratorium on sale of agricultural land, which will remain in effect to at least 1 January 2019.

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