Russian Court Orders Seizure of JP Morgan’s Assets

A court in St. Petersburg has ordered the seizure of the Russian assets of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), worth around $440 million, in relation to a lawsuit filed by VTB Bank, Russia’s second-largest lender. 

The legal dispute stems from VTB’s funds totaling $439.5 million, which were held in a JPMorgan account in the United States. Following the imposition of sanctions on VTB, JPMorgan had to transfer the funds to a separate escrow account, rendering them inaccessible to both parties.

In response, VTB filed a lawsuit against JPMorgan on April 17th, seeking to recover the frozen funds. The Russian bank argued that JPMorgan was taking steps to withdraw its assets from Russia, prompting the court to freeze the U.S. bank’s accounts, stake in a Russian subsidiary, and property rights related to certain trademarks.

The court’s ruling highlights the broader challenges faced by Western companies operating in Russia. JPMorgan had previously warned of potential litigation and asset seizures in the country due to its inability to process certain transactions under the sanctions regime.

The move is also indicative of the difficulties Western banks face in executing their pledges to exit the Russian market following the invasion of Ukraine. While JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs announced plans to close their Russian operations, experts have cautioned that the process could take over a year, with approval from President Vladimir Putin himself required.

Other major Western banks, including Citigroup, UniCredit, and Raiffeisen Bank International, continue to operate in Russia. Last year, a Russian court froze $36 million worth of Goldman Sachs’ assets following a lawsuit by a state-owned bank, while another court seized $204 million of Volkswagen’s assets pending a lawsuit by a former partner.

Information for this story was found via Bloomberg, the Financial Times, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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