Russian court freezes assets of 2 German banks

Russian court freezes assets of 2 German banks in gas project dispute

/ 08:58 AM May 20, 2024

VIENNA — A court in the Russian city of St. Petersburg has ordered the seizing of assets of Germany’s Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank in the country, the Russian state news agency Tass says.

The order is in response to a lawsuit over the planned construction of a liquefied natural gas terminal in the Baltic Sea.

The banks were among the guarantors in the contract for building a gas processing plant by a multinational construction firm, Renaissance Heavy Industries, and German company Linde. But the project was canceled after Western sanctions, with the banks withdrawing their guarantees.

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The cancellation came at the request of RusChemAlliance, a subsidiary of Russian gas giant Gazprom and the operator of the project, German news agency dpa reported.

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RusChemAlliance paid advances to Linde for the building of the plant. The company is claiming about 238.61 million euros ($260 million) against Deutsche Bank and 94.92 million euros ($103 million) against Commerzbank, according to dpa.

In a statement, Deutsche Bank said it has made a provision for about 260 million euros ($283 million) under an indemnification agreement.

It also said that it would need to assess the immediate operational impact in Russia and see how the claim will be viewed by the Russian courts.

Western nations have imposed a wide range of sanctions against Russia over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine two years ago.

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