Published On: Sat, Dec 27th, 2014

Russian Institutions Sberbank, VTB File Appeal for Removal of European Sanctions

 Russian banks VTB and Sberbank / Photo source Russian News

Russian banks VTB and Sberbank have appealed to the European Court for the lifting of European sanctions that have been imposed on them, the Vestnik Kavkaza news agency said.

In particular, VTB has asked the court to declare invalid and annul the decisions of the European Council of July 31 and September 8 that refer to the sanctions against Russian banks, the report said.

A statement by VTB claimed the Council was unable to provide a sufficient and adequate rationale for the two decisions, saying it prevented the banks from effectively defending themselves in court and thus violated their rights. The European sanctions are applied to Russian financial institutions that are more than 50% owned and managed by the government, but the Russian government does not control VTB, according to the report.

Sberbank said in a statement sent to the European Court that the Council exceeded its powers by including Sberbank on the sanctions list, as the latter does not meet the sanctions criteria specified in the decisions of the Council, the news agency said.

Alexander Abramov, a leading researcher, said, “First of all, these banks are, of course, interested in the ability to finance in Europe, because the closure of European markets, of course, is a very painful blow to their interests. Also, there are signals to the U.S. investors not to invest in these banks and they do not invest. That caused a dramatic reduction in the capitalization of Sberbank and VTB in the last year.”

Vestnik Kavkaza also quoted him as saying that a positive decision by the European Court would create an opportunity to increase European and American investment as well as help other Russian companies deal with the sanctions. Abramov is the leading researcher at the Institute of Applied Economic Research of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economics and Public Administration.

In a report by the news agency earlier in the week, Abramov claimed that the strengthening of the ruble is caused by exporters who began to transfer their currency to the foreign exchange market. “Strictly speaking, this is the main factor. However, on Friday the oil price became a little stronger, but the main reason is that the fresh currency has come from the exchange offers to the market. This has strengthened the ruble, ” the expert said.

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