Rinat Akhmetov, the founder of System Capital Management, recently began an arbitration process against Russia for the loss of his Ukrainian assets. Akhmetov has said that he is seeking $10 billion in damages.
This isn’t the first time Akhmetov has attempted legal action against the country for damages against him and his staff, nor is it likely to be the last. These suits are filed on behalf of an entire economy that’s been devastated by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions. The latest arbitration demands compensation for losses incurred from 2014 to 2017 — long before the ravages of the current war.
“Russia must be punished for its crimes against Ukraine and Ukrainians, which have been happening since 2014,” Akhmetov declared. “Therefore, I am filing a claim for full compensation from the aggressor country for all the losses we have suffered since 2014 in the illegally occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. I am going to invest the awarded compensation to rebuild and open new factories and plants, create jobs, and contribute to the growth of the Ukrainian economy.”.
The Ukrainian billionaire has accused Russia of intervening in his business affairs, seizing property, and investing in terrorist groups that have imposed irreparable harm to his people and property. He called out the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic as terrorist groups controlled by Russia that have done immeasurable damage throughout Ukraine.
One of the most famous examples of terrorism was the attack on the Donbass Arena, which was once home to the Shakhtar Donetsk football club, which plays in the Ukrainian Premier League. This renowned stadium cost $400 million to build and now sits largely abandoned after the seizure and ongoing shelling from Russian forces. Overrun initially in 2014, the arena has sustained continuous strikes during the most recent war. Rinat Akhmetov seeks reimbursement for these losses in his latest suit.
Russia’s thirst for power has also affected a number of Rinat Akhmetov’s diverse holdings, including his mining and metallurgical companies. Additionally, Russia has shut down the educational and training facilities that Akhmetov created to support the dreams and families of entire towns. In addition to the free university he planned to open in the port city of Mariupol, he notably lost the Kirsha Training Centre. The latter was Shakhtar Donetsk’s training facility and featured a gym, canteen, medical offices, and rehab center.
Russia’s ability to get away with an unjust war does more than just harm its neighbors. It sets a dangerous example all over the world. In an official statement released by SCM, Akhmetov said that the country needs to be held accountable for crimes against Ukraine.
Said Akhmetov, “For me, as for many other Ukrainians, the war began in 2014. It was then that Russia invaded our country, started seizing our vital factories and plants and destroying our infrastructure. My position has not changed: We will seek justice using all available legal means with every possible agency and court, because Russia’s crimes against Ukraine and Ukrainians that have been committed since 2014 must be punished.”
While Russia may dismiss the claims, Akhmetov has persevered in the name of justice. In September 2018, one of his energy holdings prepared a lawsuit for losses in Crimea before filing a few months later. In 2022, Akhmetov filed a suit with the European Court of Human Rights for Russia’s monstrous deeds. Throughout the war, Rinat Akhmetov has been organizing and backing numerous missions to raise money, deliver supplies, and boost morale during some of the bleakest days his country had ever seen. As he looks to the horizon, he’s committed to defending his homeland for as long as he can, in whatever way he can.