Russian Court Seizes Assets of German Banks

A Russian court has ordered the seizure of assets, accounts, property, and shares of Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank in a lawsuit involving the German banks, according to court documents.

The banks served as guarantor lenders for the construction of a gas processing plant in Russia with German company Linde. The project was halted due to Western sanctions imposed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

The St. Petersburg court ruled to seize 239 million euros ($260 million) from Deutsche Bank. The bank, based in Frankfurt, stated it had already set aside approximately 260 million euros ($283 million) for the case. Deutsche Bank is assessing the impact of this decision on its operations in Russia.

Commerzbank’s assets, worth 93.7 million euros ($101.85 million), including securities and its central Moscow building, were also seized. Commerzbank has not yet commented on the ruling.

In a separate lawsuit, the court ordered the seizure of UniCredit’s assets, accounts, and property, along with shares in two subsidiaries, totalling 462.7 million euros ($503 million). UniCredit acknowledged the decision and is reviewing the situation. The bank, with a significant local subsidiary in Russia, had been in preliminary discussions for a sale but has not made significant progress.

European banks have been withdrawing from Russia since the 2022 conflict began. Russia has been under heavy Western sanctions, particularly targeting its banking sector. Many U.S. and European companies have ceased operations in the country.

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