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Rosneft Working on Strategy to Fight Western Sanctions in European Courts: Reports

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Russian energy giant Rosneft is working on a legal strategy to overturn Western sanctions in European courts, the Wall Street Journal said Monday, citing sources familiar with the situation.

MOSCOW, October 14 (RIA Novosti) - Russian energy giant Rosneft is working on a legal strategy to overturn Western sanctions in European courts, the Wall Street Journal said Monday, citing sources familiar with the situation.

According to the newspaper, Rosneft has hired London-based legal company Zaiwalla & Co., which specializes in advising countries sanctioned by the West. The company is led by Indian-born lawyer Sarosh Zaiwalla and had previously helped Iran's Mellat bank win lawsuits over Western sanctions in Britain's Supreme Court and the EU General Court.

Mellat, one of Iran's largest banks, was targeted by Western sanctions in 2009 for supposedly supporting Tehran's nuclear program. Though the court rulings have not made it much easier for the bank to operate outside of Iran, they have given international companies "a strong legal backing" to do business with Mellat and complicated European efforts to fully enforce sanctions against Iran, the Wall Street Journal wrote.

A number of Western countries, including the EU member states, have introduced several rounds of economic sanctions against Russia over its alleged involvement in the Ukrainian crisis, a claim which Moscow has repeatedly denied.

The restrictions target Russia's banking, oil and defense sectors and ban the provision of technical and other assistance to Russian companies in the field of oil exploration and production.

Rosneft is one of the Russian companies, targeted by the West's sanctions. Its activities include hydrocarbon exploration and production, upstream offshore projects, hydrocarbon refining, and crude oil, gas and product marketing in Russia and abroad. Rosneft's main shareholder (69.5 percent) is state-owned Rosneftegaz.

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