NewsRussian court seizes assets of Deutsche Bank and UniCredit

Russian court seizes assets of Deutsche Bank and UniCredit

Italian UniCredit and German Deutsche Bank lost to RusChemAlliance
Italian UniCredit and German Deutsche Bank lost to RusChemAlliance
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8:29 AM EDT, May 19, 2024

According to Russian judicial authorities on Saturday, a Russian court has ordered the seizure of assets worth hundreds of millions of euros from two foreign banks operating in Russia: Italian UniCredit and German Deutsche Bank. The Russian gas company RusChemAlliance requested this action.

The arbitration court in Saint Petersburg ordered on May 16 the seizure of real estate, securities, and accounts in Russia amounting to 503 million USD from Italy's second-largest bank, UniCredit. A similar decision was made on the same day against Deutsche Bank, Germany's largest bank. The seizure order concerns its real estate, securities, and accounts amounting to 259 million USD.

Both decisions were made at the request of the RusChemAlliance corporation, founded by the Russian gas giant Gazprom. The corporation planned to build a large gas processing and liquefaction plant near Saint Petersburg.

Russians vs. Deutsche Bank and UniCredit

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the corporation lost its partner—the German company Linde, which was supposed to supply equipment for the project. UniCredit and Deutsche Bank were guarantors of this venture, but due to sanctions, they could not fulfill their obligations to RusChemAlliance.

In the summer of 2023, the Russian company filed a complaint with the arbitration court in Saint Petersburg, demanding that both banks pay hundreds of millions of euros from the bank guarantees provided for in the obligations.

Deutsche Bank responded in a press release, "We will need to see how this claim is implemented by the Russian courts and assess the immediate operational impact in Russia." Meanwhile, UniCredit stated that the bank is aware of the Russian court's decision and assured that it is "thoroughly examining" the situation.

UniCredit, previously one of Russia's most actively operating European banks, began "preliminary" talks in May 2022 regarding the possible sale of its Russian subsidiary, but the project has stalled. The Italian bank has been present in Russia since 2005.

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