5 July 2023

Joint Media Release: NGOs welcome Aussie coal company suspension of privatisation, amid concerns that court case against government undermines sanctions laws

The Australian Centre for International Justice and Transparency International Australia welcome news that the privatisation of ASX-listed Tigers Realm Coal has been suspended, amid concerns the company’s court action against the Australian Government could undermine Australia’s sanctions laws.

ASX listed Tigers Realm Coal, through its Russian subsidiaries, mines coal in the Chukotka Autonomous Region of Russia. The company considered delisting and has taken the Commonwealth to court in response to DFAT’s indicative assessment that their operations were likely to be in breach of Australia’s sanctions regime. One of their main shareholders is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) – a Russian Sovereign Wealth Fund setup by Putin and a designated entity under Australia and US sanctions regimes.

Melissa Chen, Senior Lawyer at the Australian Centre for International Justice made the following comments: 

“Tigers Realm’s continued listing on the ASX, and suspension of privatisation, will ensure that there is some measure of public accountability in the activities it is undertaking in Russia and the actions it is taking against the Australian Government.”

“Australia needs strong sanctions laws to send a message of condemnation denouncing Russia’s immoral and illegal invasion of Ukraine, and to cut off the financial resources which fuel the invasion.”

Clancy Moore, Chief Executive Officer at Transparency International Australia made the following comments: 

“If Tigers Realm’s court action succeeds, the efficacy of Australia’s sanctions regime could be seriously undermined.”

“The continued mining of coal in Russia will result in millions of dollars in royalty and tax payments flowing into Russia’s war chest and cash dividends lining the pockets of the already sanctioned, Russian Sovereign Wealth Fund, seemingly against the objectives of Australia’s sanctions regime.”

Timeline of events: 

In April 2023, Tigers Realm Coal disagreed with DFAT’s assessment that its mining operations were likely to be prohibited under Australia’s sanctions laws, instead stating that they were considering applying for a permit and outlining an intention to privatise the company in a possible attempt to avoid the application of these sanctions laws.

On 21 June 2023, the Australian Centre for International Justice, Transparency International Australia and Ukraine, and Razom We Stand publicly urged the government to refuse to grant a sanctions permit to Tigers Realm, arguing that this would not be in Australia’s national interest and could undermine the broader objectives of Australia’s sanctions regime against Russia.

On 22 June 2023, Tigers Realm filed an application in the Federal Court, seeking declarations that Australia’s sanctions laws do not apply to its coal mining activities in Russia.

On 4 July 2023, Tigers Realm made an ASX announcement, stating that its potential privatisation and delisting from the ASX were being suspended.

Media contacts:

‍Australian Centre for International Justice: Rawan Arraf: +61 (0)450 708 870

Transparency International Australia: Clancy Moore: +61 (0) 410 508 051


Image credit: yk24.ru


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