Russian Court Orders Seizure of Deutsche Bank and UniCredit Assets

Sat May 18 2024
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MOSCOW: A Russian court has ruled that Deutsche Bank and UniCredit’s assets in the country are to be seized, documents showed dated May 16, AFP reported.

The ruling, issued by a court in Saint Petersburg, mandates the seizure of 239 million euros ($260 million) from Deutsche Bank and approximately 463 million euros from Italy’s UniCredit. The decisions come in response to a request from RusKhimAlians, a company involved in a major gas processing and liquefaction project in cooperation with German firm Linde.

The project, initially supported by both Deutsche Bank and UniCredit as guarantors, faced setbacks following Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine. Linde subsequently withdrew from the venture, prompting RusKhimAlians to initiate legal action against the European banks.

Both Deutsche Bank and UniCredit have acknowledged the court’s decisions. Deutsche Bank stated that it would need to assess the immediate operational impact in Russia, while UniCredit indicated that it was reviewing the situation in detail.

UniCredit, which operated a large subsidiary in Russia, was one of the European banks most exposed to the country when Moscow launched its offensive in Ukraine in 2022. Despite initiating preliminary discussions on a sale of its Russian operations last year, UniCredit’s exit from the market has not progressed significantly.

UniCredit’s Chief Executive Officer, Andrea Orcel, expressed the bank’s desire to disengage from Russia. However, Orcel emphasized concerns about gifting a three billion euro operation, citing the need to respect the spirit of Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over the Ukraine conflict.

Nevertheless, UniCredit has been actively reducing its exposure to Russia over time. The bank has managed to increase the ratio of its capital to risk-weighted assets, reaching 16 percent from 15 percent in the previous year.

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