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HomeRussiaRussian court seizes two European banks' assets despite Western sanctions

Russian court seizes two European banks’ assets despite Western sanctions

  • Russian court seizes assets of Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, and UniCredit
  • Seizures relate to halted gas project; Western sanctions impede Russian investments
  • Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, and UniCredit to assess impacts of court’s ruling

According to court documents, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank’s assets, accounts, properties, and shares in Russia have been seized at the behest of a Russian court in connection with a lawsuit involving the German banks.

The banks are guarantor lenders under a contract with the German firm Linde to construct a gas processing facility in Russia. Western sanctions precipitated the project’s termination.

European banks have yet to invest in Russia since 2022 when Moscow initiated its offensive in Ukraine.

According to documents dated May 16, a court in St. Petersburg determined in favor of seizing 239 million euros ($260 million) from Deutsche Bank.

Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt stated that approximately 260 million euros ($283 million) had been provisioned for the case.

The bank continued in a statement, “We will need to assess the immediate operational impact in Russia and observe how the Russian courts implement this claim.

Additionally, the court seized 93.7 million euros ($101.85 million) in assets from Commerzbank, another German financial institution, including securities and the bank’s central Moscow property.

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In a parallel lawsuit filed on Friday, the Russian court ordered the seizure of UniCredit’s assets, accounts, and property, as well as interests in two subsidiaries. The ruling affected assets worth 462.7 million euros ($503 million).

UniCredit stated that it was “reviewing” the situation in depth after being “notified” of the decision. As a result of its substantial local subsidiary operating in Russia, the bank was among the most vulnerable European institutions during Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The preliminary discussions regarding a sale commenced a year ago have yet to progress. Chief executive Andrea Orcel stated that UniCredit desires to withdraw from Russia but added that presenting a three-billion-euro ($3.3 billion) operation as a gift was unsuitable to honor the spirit of Western sanctions against Moscow in connection with the conflict.

The finance sector of Russia has been subject to severe Western sanctions ever since the commencement of the conflict in Ukraine. Additionally, dozens of American and European firms have ceased operations in the country.

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