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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

French Court Favors Sukhoi, MiG

A French court ruling has given domestic jet makers hope that their planes will once again grace the skies of foreign air shows -- without threat of seizure.

Two years ago, a court in the Paris suburb of Bobigny, near le Bourget, home to the Paris Air Show, issued an injunction for the seizure of a MiG and a Sukhoi fighter as part of ongoing efforts by Swiss company Noga to retrieve $60 million it says it is owed by the Russian government from oil-for-food deliveries in the early 1990s.

But on Wednesday, the court in Bobigny ruled that the disputed Sukhoi and MiG were military planes and that regulations on their arrest and sale could not be applied, Agence France Presse reported.

Noga's lawyers argued that the aircraft had been stripped of their weapons and were intended for commercial gain, the agency reported. The court said that this did not affect their military status.

"This is good news," a spokesman for Rosoboronexport, the states arms exporting agency, said Wednesday.

He added that event organizers had bemoaned the scarcity of Russian planes at the closing ceremony at last month's Paris Air Show, and expressed hope that the July 2 hearing would allow Russian planes to participate in the future.

Though the planes returned to Russia before they could be seized, Sukhoi kept its craft away from Britain's Farnborough show last year and MiG canceled an appearance at a show in Berlin.

Hoping for a favorable verdict on June 4, Russian companies had planned to show off their Su-27SM and MiG-29MRCA fighters and a MiG-AT trainer jet at this year's show.

The only Russian plane to participate was a Yak-54 sports aircraft, Rosoboronexport said.

Despite having won an initial court victory in 1997 in Sweden, Noga has since had a number of its high-profile injunctions overturned.

In 2001, the accounts of the Russian Embassy in Paris were frozen at Noga's request and in July 2000 the world's largest sailing ship, the Sedov, was impounded at the Brest boating festival. Noga was ordered to pay $100,000 in damages as a result.