(Bloomberg) -- Sanctioned Russian lender Sberbank PJSC caused the bankruptcy of the Antipinsky Oil Refinery in Western Siberia, according to Swiss trader New Stream Trading AG.
Sberbank “had full control of the management of Antipinsky” from mid-November 2018 and took steps leading to it “procuring the breaches” of the refinery’s existing contracts, NST said, quoting from a ruling by a tribunal constituted under the London Court of International Arbitration.
A spokesperson for the LCIA declined to confirm NST’s interpretation of the case, citing confidentiality reasons.
NST, which marketed the refinery’s products until the facility went bankrupt in 2019, brought the case against Sberbank seeking the return of its pre-payments for petroleum products that weren’t delivered.
Swiss Trader New Stream Files for Arbitration Against Sberbank
The arbitration tribunal discharged NST of its liabilities before Sberbank and its Swiss unit, which amounted to more than one billion dollars, and ordered Sberbank to reimburse 85% of NST’s legal fees, according to NST’s statement.
In response, Sberbank said the tribunal had “denied NST in full in recovery of damages from the Bank,” a spokesperson said by email. NST “could not refute the concealment of information about the off-balance multibillion-dollar guarantees accepted by the Antipinsky Refinery and the withdrawal of money by the management and the owner of the plant,” the Sberbank statement said.
The European Union approved sanctions earlier this month cutting the Russian lender off from the international payments system SWIFT, as punishment for the nation’s invasion of Ukraine. Sberbank aims to complete the sale of its Swiss unit by mid-July, first deputy chief executive officer Alexander Vedyakhin said in an interview this month.
The refinery’s bankruptcy “falls solely within the competence of Russian courts,” Sberbank said in its statement. The Tyumen regional arbitration court ruled Antipinsky went bankrupt due to the “ineffective administration” of its former owners and its “high debt overburden,” they said.
Sberbank was the main lender to the debt-laden refinery, which was previously controlled by New Stream and its owner Dmitri Mazurov. The bank gained control of the facility in 2019 after it filed for bankruptcy.
Moscow-based Rusinvest bought the refinery in 2021 for nearly 111 billion rubles ($2.1 billion).
NST has also filed a claim in the cantonal court of Zug, Switzerland against Sberbank and its Swiss unit seeking compensation for Antipinsky Oil Refinery’s default on its product deliveries under prepaid contracts with NST, according to the statement from the trader.
A representative for Sberbank did not reply to a request for comment on the Swiss claim. The lender is seeking to complete the sale of its Swiss unit by mid-July.
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