Taxpayer Abuse and International Law: Implications of the Yukos Saga

Date of Event



September 30, 2013

Case Western Reserve University Institute for Global Security Law and Policy

Speaker: Paul B. Stephan Professor of Law University of Virginia

In the world of complex corporate transactions, taxpayers both abuse and are abused. Yukos, once the largest oil producer in Russia, engaged in aggressive tax planning to avoid income taxation. Its techniques closely matched those of its Russian competitors, and in general terms resembled the moves used by companies such as Starbucks and Microsoft to minimize their global tax burden. The Russian government responded ferociously, using tax claims to throw Yukos into bankruptcy and to seize most of its assets. Yukos in turn responded with an array of international law claims and domestic lawsuits in various arbitral tribunals, international courts, and domestic courts of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. Paul Stephan will use the case of one Russian company to illustrate how some foreign governments are abusing the system of international taxation to the detriment of businesses. This forum will be of interest to Ohio attorneys who practice in the field of corporate tax law, work in tax or finance for multi-national corporations, and those that practice in in foreign and international courts.

Lecture Series

Center: International Law / Global Security

Subject Headings

taxpayer abuse; Yukos; international law; corporate taxation;


Case Western Reserve University School of Law; Russia and corporate taxation

Document Type