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Putin’s Response to EU Sanctions: See You in Court

The fight over Russian sanctions is heading to court. Since early October at least six Russian companies—including state oil group Rosneft and the country’s two biggest banks—have field complaints at the Luxembourg-based European General Court. So has President Vladimir Putin’s oligarch friend Arkady Rotenberg. All of them are seeking to overturn European Union sanctions.

They have some reason for optimism. The EU court has previously thrown out sanctions against several Iranian entities and individuals. In those cases, the court found European authorities didn’t provide sufficient evidence linking the sanctioned entities to Tehran’s nuclear program and didn’t give them an adequate chance to respond before imposing asset freezes and other punishment.

Sarosh Zaiwalla, a London lawyer who has helped Iran’s Bank Mellat challenge sanctions, said in an interview that he’s now representing some of the targeted Russian entities. He declined to name them or discuss details of the Russian complaints, which haven’t been made public.